Shrinking habitat makes animals cross paths with humans in Karnataka
M.K. Ashoka, Daiji World
September 25, 2022
Karnataka has one of the richest and largest forest resources in the
country. However, the fast receding forest cover due to urbanization and
development has aggravated human-animal conflict to levels not seen before.
In the man-animal conflict, it was only the elephant menace which had
surfaced in Hassan and Mysuru districts of south Karnataka. Today, leopards
are found prowling in cities, foxes are coming out in packs and attacking
people, there have been tiger attacks. Elephant attacks have also become
There have been demands to cull elephant calves to reduce their numbers.
Minister for Labour Shivaram Hebbar clarified that there is no such
proposal before them and the government would not even think about it.
President of the Environmental Protection Committee Bhanu Mohan told IANS
that she has taken part in elephant and tiger census exercises. They had
gone 20 to 25 kilometres into the jungles for this.
"As far as you can see there are only scrubs which cannot support elephants
and leopards. Only rabbits and small animals can live there," she explains.
Bhanu Mohan says that the population pressure on forests is leading to the
loss of forest cover. Encroachments can be seen in the forests of Bandipur,
Nagarahole, Biligiriranganabetta, Chamarajanagar in south Karnataka, mostly
done by politicians, she adds.
Another important factor is that animals are not finding water sources
inside the forests, she says.
Environmentalist Neeraj Kamath, convenor, Uttishta Bharatha, told IANS that
wildlife will flourish only when there is least or no human intervention in
the wildlife sanctuaries.
Any development which affects the natural habitat of wildlife must not be
taken up and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) must strictly turn down any
such requests, he says.
Kamath says the interests of adivasis who are part of such an ecosystem
must be taken care of, they must be first provided with all basic, job and
education facilities and then relocated.
The traditional pathways of the animals have to be protected areas and
illegal activities in such areas must be stopped with an iron hand, he
Another environmentalist Vidyut Shashidhar states that the NGT is
handicapped. "We have written many letters, the pressure is such that they
respond only to big projects. The head office is located in Chennai city in
Tamil Nadu. The NGT must establish its unit here," he says. The central
office is located in New Delhi, making it accessible to environmentalists
and nature lovers, he adds.
The forest cover in the state is receding at an alarming rate. Earlier the
forest cover was more, then it came down to 50 per cent and today only 30
per cent is remaining. The destruction of lakhs of trees has also changed
rain patterns in Kerala and Karnataka.