Shrinking spaces: Fresh advisories to manage man-animal conflict

The need for a new set of advisories was felt because wildlife habitats are shrinking and getting fragmented, resulting in more number of wild animals entering cities

According to the latest estimate, India's leopard population stands at 12,852 -- a good 60 percent higher than the 2014 estimation of 7,910. With an increase in number of leopards, the forest departments need to work harder to prevent clashes between humans and the wild cats.

In the wake of increasing man-animal conflicts, the National Board of Wildlife recently approved a new advisory for management of such clashes across the country.

The need for a new set of advisories was felt because wildlife habitats are shrinking and getting fragmented, resulting in more number of wild animals entering cities. Such incidents don’t just put human lives in danger, but may also cause grievous injuries and even death to the animal.

The advisory makes important prescriptions for the states/union territories for dealing with human-wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

Also read: How human hysteria in Pune exhausted a bison to death and the lessons learnt

Some of the prominent suggestions

  1. Henceforth, village gram panchayats will have the authority to deal with problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  2. Add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna for crop compensation will be used to compensate for crop damage due to animals.
  3. Fodder and water sources within forest areas will be increased and improved to prevent movement of animals towards urban areas.
  4. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.
  5. The advisory also envisages prescribing inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise control rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis.
  6. Identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal etc.
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