Harnessing agent-based models to mitigate marine conservation conflict involving saltwater crocodiles in the Andaman islands

Meera Anna Oommen, Kartik Shanker, Adit D’Souza, Amulya Yadav*, Deepak Subramani#

Marine ecosystems around the world often experience serious conflict between a wide variety of individual and institution-level stakeholders, as conservation decisions taken to preserve these ecosystems are often characterised by inherent trade-offs and conflicts within the environment sector itself, as well as links to a range of other social and developmental stressors impacting human communities in marginal coastal spaces. In particular, the conflicts arising from conservation attempts of charismatic flagship species, especially species that can cause harm to the lives and livelihoods of people are an emerging worldwide challenge. As an example of conservation conflict in the Andaman island, we consider the case of the salt water crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), a large predator known for attacking people and livestock. Our strategic goal is to harness agent based modelling (ABM) approaches to develop an intelligent decision support system (IDSS) for resolution of conservation conflict around salt-water crocodiles in the Andaman Islands. This modelling exercise will serve as a workable template for similar conservation situations involving problematic wildlife across the country and will also serve as a policy discovery tool. This project is supported by Google India under the GoogleAI for Social Good initiative.

*Pennsylvania State University, USA

#Department of Computational and Data Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

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