Hydroelectric projects and wildlife hunting in Northeast India: A conservation perspective


  • Jay Prakash Bhatt Faculty of Science, Sri Sri University, Cuttack, Odisha, India
  • Kumar Manish Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat-131 001, Haryana, India




Arunachal Pradesh, Community Awareness, Community Education, Environment Management Plans


Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most bio-diverse and forested states in India. The state is home to 26 tribal groups and 110 sub-tribes. Traditionally, hunting has been a major part of the tribal communities in Arunachal Pradesh. Hunting is conducted majorly for food, recreation, games, trophies collection and for religious beliefs in the area. In this study, we aimed to collect baseline data on hunting rates and the reasons for hunting through primary surveys conducted in 4 major villages of West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh. The sampling sites also coincided with the proposed locations for the construction of five future hydroelectric power projects in Arunachal Pradesh.  We found a total of 34 trophies/hides in the study area with average hunting rates of 0.68 animal/household/annum and 0.97 animal/active hunter/annum. Sus scrofa cristatus (Wild Boar) was the most hunted species, followed by Naemorhedus sp. (Goral) and Ursus thibetanus (Black Bear). Among the most hunted species, 5 belonged to the ‘Vulnerable’ category of IUCN. Our findings also revealed that if the proposed Environment Management Plans (EMPs) of the 5 hydroelectric power projects were properly implemented, a total of 2000 jobs could be provided to the 2243 families in this study area. This has the potential to alleviate hunting pressures in the area. Besides, the EMPs of all the major hydroelectric power projects have provisions for community awareness and community education programmes. We propose that together with the state governments and non-governmental organizations, the hydroelectric project developers can play a very constructive role in decreasing hunting pressures and mitigating biodiversity losses in Northeast India.


Aiyadurai, A. (2007). Hunting in a biodiversity hotspot: a survey on hunting practices by indigenous communities in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Mysore: Rufford Small Grants Foundation, London (UK) and Nature Conservation Foundation.

Aiyadurai, A. (2012). Bird hunting in Mishmi hills of Arunachal Pradesh, north-eastern India. Indian Birds, 7(5), 134-137.

Aiyadurai, A., Singh, N. J., & Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2010). Wildlife hunting by indigenous tribes: a case study from Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Oryx, 44(4), 564-572. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605309990937

Akinsorotan, O. A., Olaniyi, O. E., Oguntuase, B. G., & Raheem, T. (2020). Dynamics and socioeconomic drivers of illegal hunting of wildlife animal for consumption in Oba hills forest reserve in Southwest Nigeria. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management, 24(2), 287-298. https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jasem.v24i2.15

Bennett, E.L., Blencowe, E., Brandon, K., Brown, D., Burn, R.W., Cowlishaw, G.U.Y., Davies, G., Dublin, H., Fa, J.E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., & Robinson, J.G. (2007). Hunting for consensus: reconciling bushmeat harvest, conservation, and development policy in West and Central Africa. Conservation Biology, 884-887. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00595.x

Bhatt, J. P., & Pandit, M. K. (2019). Local hunting practices and wildlife conservation in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Animal Conservation, 22, 525-526.

Bhatt, J. P., Tiwari, S., & Pandit, M. K. (2017). Environmental impact assessment of river valley projects in upper Teesta basin of Eastern Himalaya with special reference to fish conservation: a review. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 35(4), 340-350. https://doi.org/10.1080/14615517.2017.1354642

Brashares, J. S., Golden, C. D., Weinbaum, K. Z., Barrett, C. B., & Okello, G. V. (2011). Economic and geographic drivers of wildlife consumption in rural Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(34), 13931-13936. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1011526108

Census of India (2011). Census of India, 2011. Government of India, New Delhi.

Chaudhuri, A. B., Chaudhuri, A. B., & Sarkar, D. D. (2003). Megadiversity conservation: flora, fauna and medicinal plants of India's hot spots. Daya Books.

Chowdhury, J. N. (1996). Arunachal Panorama: A study in Profile. Directorate of Research, Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar.

Chutia, P. (2010). Studies on hunting and the conservation of wildlife species in Arunachal Pradesh. Sibcoltejo, 5(2010), 56-67.

Chutia, P., & Solanki, G. S. (2013). Patterns of bird hunting in Arunachal Pradesh and implications for biodiversity conservation. Tropical Ecology, 54(2), 263-267.

Datta, A., Naniwadekar, R., & Anand, M. O. (2008). Hornbills, hoolocks and hog badgers: long-term monitoring of threatened wildlife with local communities in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Final report to the Rufford Small Grants Program (UK). Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India.

Grumbine, R. E., & Pandit, M. K. (2013). Threats from India's Himalaya dams. Science, 339(6115), 36-37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1227211

India State of Forest Report. (2013). State of Forest Report 2013. Forest Survey of India, Government of India, Dehradun.

Kideghesho, J. R., Nyahongo, J. W., Hassan, S. N., Tarimo, T. C., & Mbije, N. E. (2006). Factors and ecological impacts of wildlife habitat destruction in the Serengeti ecosystem in northern Tanzania. AJEAM-RAGEE, 11, 917-932.

Kouassi, J. A., Normand, E., Koné, I., & Boesch, C. (2019). Bushmeat consumption and environmental awareness in rural households: a case study around Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. Oryx, 53(2), 293-299. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317000333

Kumar, A., & Riba, B. (2015). Assessment of effectiveness of conservation action adopted for hornbill species In Arunachal Pradesh, India: The Great Indian Hornbill (Buceros bicornis). International Journal of Conservation Science, 6, 125-134.

Mazumdar, K., Samal, P. K., & Gupta, A. (2014). Hunting of avifauna in proposed Tsangyang Gyatso Biosphere Reserve, Western Arunachal Pradesh. Zoo’s Print, 3-7.

Milner-Gulland, E. J., & Bennett, E. L. (2003). Wild meat: the bigger picture. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 18(7), 351-357. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00123-X

Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., Da Fonseca, G. A., & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403(6772), 853-858.

Olson, D. M., & Dinerstein, E. (1998). The Global 200: a representation approach to conserving the Earth's most biologically valuable ecoregions. Conservation Biology, 12(3), 502-515. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.1998.012003502.x

Pandit, M. K. (2017). Life in the Himalaya: an ecosystem at risk. Harvard University Press.

Pandit, M. K., & Grumbine, R. E. (2012). Potential effects of ongoing and proposed hydropower development on terrestrial biological diversity in the Indian Himalaya. Conservation Biology, 26(6), 1061-1071. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01918.x

Pandit, M. K., Manish, K., Singh, G., & Chowdhury, A. (2023). Hydropower: A low-hanging sour-sweet energy option for India. Heliyon, 9, e17151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e17151

Proctor, J., Haridasan, K., & Smith, G. W. (1998). How far north does lowland evergreen tropical rain forest go?. Global Ecology & Biogeography Letters, 7(2), 141-146.

Ramakrishna., & Alfred, J. R. B. (2007). Faunal Resources in India. Zoological Survey of India, Government of India, Kolkata.

Robinson, J., & Bennett, E. L. (Eds.). (2000). Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests. Columbia University Press.

Selvan, K. M., Veeraswami, G. G., Habib, B., & Lyngdoh, S. (2013). Losing threatened and rare wildlife to hunting in Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Current Science, 104(11), 1492-1495.

Sharma, D., Tiwari, B. K., Chaturvedi, S. S., & Diengdoh, E. (2015). Status, utilization and economic valuation of Non-timber Forest Products of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Forest and Environmental Science, 31(1), 24-37. http://dx.doi.org/10.7747/JFES.2015.31.1.24

Velho, N., & Laurance, W. F. (2013). Hunting practices of an Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tribe in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Oryx, 47(3), 389-392. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605313000252




How to Cite

Bhatt, J. P., & Manish, K. (2024). Hydroelectric projects and wildlife hunting in Northeast India: A conservation perspective. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(3), 134–148. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11373223