Sustainable solutions

for the coexistence

of wildlife and people



 Wildlife and People


The coexistence of humans and wildlife in the same habitat is as old as humanity itself and has worked for many decades. It is only in modern times that the idea of deserted protected areas has emerged with the argument that a sustainable coexistence of humans and wild animals is not possible. This often led, particularly in countries in the Global South, to forced relocations or displacement of local populations to make room for national parks and other protected areas. This leads to numerous human rights violations, but also to the "isolation" of still intact small or medium-sized ecosystems within human-used areas and, associated with this, to the genetic impoverishment of wild animal populations. New solutions for species protection and coexistence must be created. That's what we're dealing with.

We believe that there is another way and that coexistence between people and wild animals is certainly possible, even with a growing population, if appropriate conditions are created, the local population is involved in nature conservation measures or they even develop them themselves. We see it as our job to provide advice and support in such processes.

We work on the development of solutions and transferable models for the sustainable coexistence of people, wild animals and ecosystems, support and advise on the development and implementation of community-based nature conservation projects for the local population and promote nature and species protection projects as well as education and humanitarian aid projects, especially on a smaller scale local NGOs. We see improving the living situation of the people in our project regions as an important prerequisite for the implementation of successful nature conservation measures.

In our work we use wild animals as bio-indicators for the condition of ecosystems and for assessing the implementation of natural protection measures. If possible, our focus here is primarily on big cats and elephants, as they are probably most often involved in conflicts with humans where they occur.

We are currently working and promoting primarily in some forest regions of Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Europe.


This resulted in four programs:

Forests, Elephants and People

In the areas of Africa and Asia where elephants occur, they are the species most involved in conflicts with humans. In addition to poaching, these are primarily conflicts over land and water, the intrusion of elephants into fields or villages, or conflicts between grazing animals and elephants , which lead to a decline in elephant populations. We have worked on this topic primarily in some forest regions of Southeast Asia and Kenya.

 Wild Cats Program

In our program for coexistence with elephants in some regions of Africa and Asia, this goes hand in hand with the program for coexistence with big cats, as both animal species very often share the same habitat and often come into conflict with humans. The Wild Cats program goes far beyond the elephant regions of Africa and Asia, as "wild cats" colonize or have at least colonized many regions of Asia, Africa, America and Europe. We are currently working, advising or promoting coexistence with big cats in some forest regions in Africa and Europe. In Germany, and especially in southern Hessen, where our foundation is based, we are working on the coexistence and return of the two native cat species, the lynx and the wildcat. Lynxes and leopards have by far the largest distribution areas worldwide. Coexistence with these two species is therefore an important topic in our work.


Wildlife and Forests Guardians Program

About 80% of the remaining biodiversity is found on the land of indigenous peoples and local village communities, which clearly shows its importance in protecting habitats and species.

With the Wildlife and Forests Guardians Program, we support wildlife protection projects in such communities, especially in some regions of Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe, but sometimes also in other parts of the world.


The return of lynx, wolf and other

wild animals in southern Hessen

The “project on our doorstep”. Emerging from our work on coexistence with big cats in Thailand, Cambodia and Kenya, this project is the logical consequence of the return of lynx, wild cats and wolves to our home region of Darmstadt/Odenwald. But other wild animals, such as beavers, have also migrated to southern Hesse in recent years and have repopulated some of their old habitats. There have already been initial conflicts with migrating wolves, which have occasionally killed sheep, and calls for shooting permits can already be heard. The core of our work here, as in our other projects, is the search for solutions for sustainable coexistence and the promotion of greater acceptance of wild animals.


About us


Wildlife and People Coexistence Network is a project of the Wild Land - Wild Spirit Foundation. This is a non-profit recognized trust foundation based in Wiesbaden and works on the topics of human/wildlife coexistence, nature and species protection, indigenous peoples, implementation of nature conservation with local communities, and promotion of globally sustainable change processes. The focus of our work is on global forest issues and the sustainable coexistence of wild animals and people.


Where have we worked since the foundation was founded in 2013?


Some forest regions of Southeast Asia and Africa.                                                                                                                     Some lynx areas in Central Europe.                                                                                                                                                The region Darmstadt/South-Hessen/Odenwald in Germany


Where could we gain experience beforehand?


Foundation founder Klaus Berger was involved in the protection of boreal forests for many years and traveled and worked in Northern Europe, mostly beyond the Arctic Circle. He was active on the North American west coast for over ten years to protect temperate rainforests. He lived on the South Island of New Zealand for a year and studied the ecology of the rainforest there and came into close contact with the Maori culture.


What do we do?


1. We support, advise and promote local village communities, indigenous peoples and citizens' initiatives in their nature conservation efforts and in the implementation of nature conservation projects in some regions of Africa and Southeast Asia as well as in Germany.
2. We advise on reducing wildlife conflicts.
3. We develop transferable models for human-wildlife coexistence and non-invasive wildlife protection.
4. We examine and document the situation of ecosystems, sustainable coexistence with wild animals and the successful implementation of nature conservation projects using so-called "indicator species" with a focus on big cats and elephants.
5. We create databases with innovative approaches to coexistence with wild animals and make them available.
6. We make films on our topics and do public relations work.
7. We do educational work on coexistence with wild animals and on the protection and sustainable use of forest ecosystems.

Advice and promotion of local nature conservation measures and nature conservation projects by indigenous peoples


Coexistence with wild animals is as old as humanity itself and has worked sustainably, although not always without conflict, over many decades. It was only over the last few centuries that a process of alienation of people and wild animals began, particularly in Europe and from here as a result of global colonization, and spread worldwide, which is reflected in today's modern people. Even though many people today are committed to nature and species protection locally and globally, measures are still often promoted that exclude the local population, especially in countries in the global south, instead of integrating them into nature conservation measures. While many people there still share a common habitat with wild animals, which is often dangerous and leads to many deaths of people and animals every year, coexistence with (dangerous) wild animals is no longer an issue here in Central Europe. We have now moved too far away from coexistence with wild animals. If wild animals, such as wolves, return to their former habitat, this quickly leads to conflicts, triggers fears and leaves little room for acceptance and coexistence. While as part of our work in the global south, especially in some regions of Africa and Southeast Asia, we promote and advise local people on nature conservation projects, which almost always aim to coexist with wild animals and not to create deserted protected areas, in Germany it is our aim Work to promote greater acceptance of wild animals through appropriate education and public relations work and thus create a basis for coexistence again.

Community based Conservation
... refers to the development of nature conservation measures and projects by local village communities and indigenous peoples. Today, around 80% of the remaining biodiversity can be found on the land of indigenous peoples and local village communities, which is based on their sustainable way of life developed over centuries or even millennia. However, indigenous communities are still being displaced or forcibly relocated for conservation reasons. Worldwide, the number of people displaced for conservation reasons is estimated at around 130 million. In Africa alone there are said to be around 14 million. Many local communities and tribes are now becoming active and developing their own conservation projects, also to show that they are very capable of preserving their habitat and protecting the wildlife that lives there. Their models are often based on the coexistence of humans and wild animals and not on separation, as is rooted in Western conservation thought. It is important to us to promote such community-based nature conservation projects and, if necessary, to advise on implementation details, to help find sponsors and to take on parts of the public relations work.


A first step in promoting the conservation work of local communities is helping to improve the living situation in the villages.


Promoting the global networking of village communities

and local conservation projects


Despite the work of many large, international conservation organizations, we are in the era of the greatest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, which shows that the work of these organizations alone clearly cannot prevent this. At the same time, it has been found that more than 80% of the remaining biodiversity can be found on the land of indigenous peoples and local village communities, which proves the enormous importance of these communities for global species conservation. However, indigenous communities are still being evicted from their land or forcibly relocated in the name of nature conservation, sometimes in collaboration with nature conservation organizations. The number of these “nature conservation refugees” displaced worldwide is now estimated at around 130 million people. We see these local village communities as a central factor in future global nature and species protection. Often it is small, local projects that they have initiated or it is simply their way of life that leads to the sustainable preservation of their land and biodiversity. The projects are often too small and the number of people in the communities too low to achieve much on their own. That's why networking is so important. Many of these communities are already cooperative across continents and are developing common positions and projects. Others have developed solutions for nature conservation issues that have not yet found their way to other regions, but could be very helpful there. It is therefore particularly important to us in our work to help create networks between these communities and to provide advice and support.


Database coexistence with wildlife


Coexistence with wild animals is becoming increasingly difficult and conflict-ridden in times of increasing alienation and simultaneous population growth, especially in countries in the global south. Organizations, village communities or individuals often develop innovative solutions for individual problems or for specific animal species. While in some regions this can defuse conflicts, in other regions the solution developed is little or no known. This could be remedied by a central database that collects solutions to a wide variety of wild animals and conflict situations and makes them available centrally. Our database is dedicated to this task! To begin with, we will limit ourselves to solutions for conflict reduction with large and small cats (Panthera and Felinae), as they can be found in many ecosystems and are very often involved in conflicts with humans. In regions where they share their habitat with elephants, our focus is also on them. For data protection and copyright reasons, we cannot publish publications from other organizations or authors directly on our website, but we link to them. Many of the solution models presented can certainly also be applied to conflicts with other large mammals. Our database is currently being created and is constantly being expanded. We look forward to receiving interesting information or links to other publications.

The Wildlife and People Coexistence Network and the Rainforest Center Darmstadt are two projects of the

Wild Land - Wild Spirit Foundation.

The two projects work closely together in educational work in Germany.

A core theme is coexistence with wild animals that are currently repopulating their original habitat.