New insurance for wildlife-caused damages

In an effort to promote conservation, individuals and companies in Chaozhou, Guangdong province, can now file claims for damage to crops and other property caused by wild animals.

Chaozhou’s forestry bureau has recently signed agreements with insurance companies to offer products to insure against such damage, reported China Green Times

According to the bureau, the objective is to offer a safety net for possible damages that may otherwise prompt people to hurt or kill wild animals in defence of property.

The city boasts 285 terrestrial species of wild animals, and crop damage by wild boars is a particular headache. The bureau has also committed to conducting a comprehensive wildlife survey in order to better protect these species.

Chaozhou’s initiative is the latest in a series of local government efforts to ameliorate human–wildlife conflicts in different parts of the country. In 2021, Guizhou province began to pilot a compensation scheme for wildlife-induced damages. In July this year, Qinghai, a province bordering Tibet, significantly raised the amount of compensation available. 

Red Star News reported recently that increasing numbers of brown bears are intruding into the settlements of Tibetan herders in the province, causing not only property damage but also wounds and deaths in some cases. 

According to a letter by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), addressed to members of the National People’s Congress, in 2021 nine provinces had come up with compensation or insurance schemes for wildlife-caused damages.

In the letter, the NFGA attributes growing human–wildlife conflicts to the general recovery of wild animal populations across the country. This it puts down to stricter conservation measures, leading to the spread of animals such as wild boars to territories populated by people. 

Besides encouraging local governments to explore financing options to support compensation schemes, the NFGA also vows to strengthen the monitoring of key damage-causing species, improve the quality of wildlife habitats so animals remains there, and adjust the spatial planning of agriculture and industry to reduce the chance of wildlife coming into contact with humans. 

Read China Dialogue’s article on conflict between humans and bears on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.