Injury Severity of Wildlife Attacks on Humans in the Vicinity of Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Most of the studies conducted about wildlife attacks on humans so far have disproportionately focused on fatal attacks, but further exploration is needed to understand other injury severities (minor, serious, death). This paper focuses on assessment of the extent of injury caused by wildlife attacks on humans in the vicinity of the Chitwan National Park (CNP) of Nepal for a period between 2003 and 2013. In the vicinity of this park, people suffer from the attacks by various wild animals such as rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), tiger (Panthera tigris), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), elephant (Elephas maximus), and wild boar (Sus scrofa). We used data collected from group discussion (n=33), key stakeholder interview (n=36), field observation, and household questionnaire survey (n=329). Our results showed that wildlife attacks were significantly correlated to site environment, season, victims’ gender, age, awareness, and activities. The injury severity significantly correlated to attacking animal species (p<0.0001). Fatal cases occurred on 1-people in-3, and rest suffered with minor to severe injuries. On an average, 30 attacks occurred annually. Most fatalities were caused by elephant attacks (68%) followed by tiger (57%), rhino (29%), bear (4%), and by wild boar attacks (4%). Most fatalities (84%) occurred at incident sites, where some victims had to loss their lives due to delay in rescue. The victims were found facing substantially harsh physical, psychological, and economical problems. Patterns of the attacks were significantly uneven across months (p<0.001). Uneducated persons, fishermen, and collectors of forest resources received more fatal attacks than others. We suggest for creation of awareness among local people about species-specific behaviour of attacking animals. The medical trauma centre should be established in the vicinity of the CNP and existing local medical centres should be upgraded for immediate treatment of the victims.