Elephants, tigers main victims of rising human-animal conflict (India)
Kumar Vikram, Daiji World
September 24, 2022
NEW DELHI: Amidst the governments increased focus on conservation of
wildlife, instances of human-animal conflict have resulted in loss of life
of both humans and animals over the years.
As per the information from the Ministry of Environment and Forests,
between 2018-19 and 2020-21, a total of 29 tigers were killed by poachers
while the deaths of 197 tigers was under scrutiny.
A large number of elephants also died due to various reasons including
electrocution and others. The data said that a total of 222 elephants died
by electrocution across the country, 45 in train collisions, 29 were killed
by poachers and 11 by poisoning during the same period.
On the other side, a large number of humans also became victims of the
conflict leading to their deaths.
Elephants killed 1,579 humans in three years - 585 in 2019-20, 461 in
2020-21, and 533 in 2021-22. So far as the states are concerned, Odisha
recorded the highest number of these deaths at 322, followed by Jharkhand
at 291, West Bengal at 240, Assam at 229, Chhattisgarh at 183 and Tamil
Nadu at 152.
So far as the deaths of elephants are concerned, out of the 222 elephant
deaths caused by electrocution, Odisha recorded 41, Tamil Nadu 34 and Assam
33. Odisha (12 out of 45) also had the highest number of elephant deaths
caused by trains, followed by West Bengal (11) and Assam (9). Poaching
deaths were the highest in Meghalaya (12 out of 29) while poisoning deaths
were the highest in Assam (9 out of 11, including 8 in 2018-19 alone).
The Ministry in a Parliament reply on July 25 said that assessments of
human-wildlife conflicts indicate that their main causes include habitat
loss, growth in the population of wild animals, changing cropping patterns
that attract wild animals to farmlands, movement of wild animals from
forest areas to human dominated landscapes for food and fodder, movement of
human beings to forests for illegal collection of forest produce, habitat
degradation due to growth of invasive alien species and others.
The Parliament standing committee on Environment and Forests in its March,
2022 report took note of the human-animal conflict observing that the cases
of man-animal conflict are on the rise and it still remains an area of
concern. "As such, there is an urgent need to minimize the instances of
man-animal conflict that was resulting in both human and animal killings,"
The Committee recommended that the Ministry should take proactive steps to
sustainably manage and minimise man-animal conflict in a balanced manner,
whereby the wildlife habitat is improved. "The Committee urges upon the
Ministry to evolve a mechanism at the national level for uniform
compensation, early settlement of compensation and rehabilitation of the
victims of man-animal conflict.
The Committee recommends that efforts should be made by the Ministry at
local level and especially among the communities living in peripheral
forest areas to sensitise them towards ecological balance through
co-existence with wildlife," it said.
As per the Ministry, financial assistance is provided by the Ministry to
States/Union Territories under the centrally sponsored schemes of
‘Development of Wildlife Habitats', ‘Project Tiger' and ‘Project Elephant'
for activities like creation and maintenance of water holes for wild
animals in the protected areas, soil and moisture conservation measures,
establishment of anti-poaching camps, strengthening wildlife veterinary
care, eradication of weeds, creation and maintenance of fire lines,
deployment of Tiger Protection Force and others.
Critical elephant habitats are notified as ‘Elephant Reserve' for focus and
synergy in elephant conservation and to reduce conflict. The notification
is carried out with the approval of the Steering Committee formed in the
Ministry. So far 31 Elephant Reserves have been established in 14 major
Similarly, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has issued Standard
Operating Procedures to deal with emergencies arising due to straying of
tigers into human dominated landscapes and tiger depredation on livestock
and for active management towards rehabilitation of tigers from source
areas at the landscape level.