IUCN SSC Guidelines

on Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence

What are IUCN Guidelines?

The IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Their guidelines publications are globally relevant reference documents which provide those working in conservation and related sectors with practical strategies to address key conservation issues. Each Guidelines document is compiled by leading experts for the given field and they are widely acknowledged as representing the current best practice in conservation action.

What are the Guidelines on Understanding and Managing Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence?

Human-Wildlife Conflict is a global conservation and development issue of growing concern affecting a wide range of peoples and terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. It is described by the IUCN Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force as the struggles that emerge when the presence or behaviour of wildlife poses actual or perceived, direct and recurring threat to human interests or needs, leading to disagreements between groups of people and negative impacts on people and/or wildlife. Extensive efforts to understand and manage human-wildlife conflicts have revealed that these situations tend to be complex, dynamic and multi-layered and, consequently, that effective, practical methods for preventing the impacts of wildlife on people and their livelihoods (such as livestock predation or crop raiding), as well those which reduce retaliatory or preventive persecution of wildlife by people, can be hard to find.  

To support efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts worldwide, the IUCN SSC Guidelines on Understanding and Managing Human-Wildlife Conflict are currently being written by the IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force. The Guidelines will synthesise the current knowledge on how best to understand and reduce human-wildlife conflicts. Importantly, they will take an interdisciplinary perspective, outlining the necessity of exploring and addressing both the human- and wildlife-related aspects of human-wildlife conflicts. The guidance presented will be global in scope and applicable across diverse human-wildlife conflict contexts, providing conservationists (and other groups working to address human-wildlife conflict) with the approaches and tools needed to find long-term solutions.

Contents of the Guidelines on Understanding and Managing Human-Wildlife Conflicts

The Fundamentals of Human-Wildlife Conflict

  • The complexities and levels of conflict

  • Stakeholders and Underlying Issues (who is involved?)

  • Physical and natural drivers (when and where do HWCs occur?)

  • The Conservationist’s Role in HWCs


Understanding Human-Wildlife Conflicts

  • Assessing the direct and indirect impacts of living with wildlife

  • Perspectives from animal behaviour and behavioural ecology

  • Understanding livelihoods, poverty and wellbeing

  • Governance and how it affects HWC

  • Legal frameworks and HWC

  • The political ecology of HWC

  • The cultural component of HWC

  • HWC Histories

  • The role of traditional and indigenous knowledge in HWC

  • Key concepts from social psychology



  • When to act

  • Theory of change and planning action

  • Designing stakeholder processes

  • Community engagement

  • Social research methods for HWC

  • Spatial and ecological research methods for HWC

  • Avoiding unintended outcomes of interventions

  • Designing HWC management plans

  • Monitoring and evaluation


Action: Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflicts

  • Spatial and landscape planning

  • Damage reduction techniques

  • Animal behaviour interventions

  • Lethal control instruments

  • Capture and translocation

  • HWC response teams

  • Financial instruments: compensation, insurance and others

  • Behaviour change and social marketing

  • Working with the media

  • Implementing Stakeholder processes

  • Policy and governance instruments

  • Working with traditional knowledge to resolve HWC

  • Improving livelihoods and benefits from conservation

  • Conflict resolution: working with difficult/intractable conflicts



  • An overview of further resources and networks

  • Advice for funding applications for HWC projects