Human-Animal Conflict

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    Context

    • Kerala forest officials  captured a wild elephant code-named Palakkad Tusker-7 (PT 7), which had been terrorising several villages in Palakkad district since two years. 

    About

    Facts Figures

    • Elephant: India has the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at 29,964 according to the 2017 census by Project Elephant, i.e. about 60% of the species’ global population.
    • In 2020-21 (upto December 2020), 87 elephants and 359 people lost their lives in human-elephant conflict.
    • Tigers- According to the latest Tiger Census of 2018-19 conducted in India, 2,967 Tigers live in the country. The population growth rate of Tiger is six percent per annum. India is home to 80 percent of tigers in the world.
    • Asiatic Lions – As per the 2020 survey, the estimated population of Asiatic Lions is 674 lions in India.
    • Asian leopards, Bears, wolves, Jaguars and spectacled bears are the animals often in conflict with humans.

    What is Human-Animal conflict?

    • Human-wildlife conflict is when encounters between humans and wildlife lead to negative results, such as loss of property, livelihoods, and even life. 

    Reasons/ Factors causing Human-Animal conflict

    • Urbanisation & Development
    • Lack of Protected areas
    • Population explosion
    • Deforestation
    • Agricultural expansion
    • Climate change 
    • Invasive species
    • Increase in eco-tourism
    • Substantial increase in the population of prolific breeders like wild boars and peacocks.

    Impacts of Human-Animal conflict

    • Decline and potential eradication of species,
    • Financial losses and threats to health and safety, livelihoods, food security, and property.
    • Increase in Road and Railways Accidents due to infrastructure development in forested areas.

    Steps Taken by Government

    • Project Elephant: It was launched by the Government of India in the year 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: It lays down the rules and regulations for the conservation and protection of Animals in India.
    • Protected Areas and reserves: There are 106 National Parks, 567 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 105 existing Conservation Reserves.
    • Project Tiger: It was launched by the Government of India in  1973, initially, the Project started with 9 tiger reserves, at present there are 53 tiger reserves in India.
    • Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE): It was established by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the tenth Conference of the Parties in 1997.
    • It measures the levels, trends and causes of elephant mortality, providing an information base to support international decision-making related to conservation of elephants in Asia and Africa. 
    • Operation Thunderbird: Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, coordinated Operation in India to fight against wildlife crime.
    • Plan Bee: It is adopted by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) which is a unique method to keep elephants away from railway tracks and plans are afoot to implement it all over the country to save the lives of elephants.

    Way Ahead

    • Awareness: The communication and interaction between the forest department and the locals has to be improved so that they can be sensitized about the issues and animals.
    • Wildlife corridors: Corridors allow animals to freely move from one habitat patch to another without crossing human-caused barriers which can put animals, and potentially humans, in danger. 
    • Community Participation: Effective planning and implementation of such measures requires consideration of good principles in community led-conservation, in collaboration with the communities affected.
    • Increase in Protected areas: To conserve the animals and avoid any human-animal interaction more protected areas need to be developed by the Government.
    • Other measures: Includes barriers (fences, nets, trenches), guarding and early-warning systems, deterrents and repellents (sirens, lights, beehives), translocation (moving wildlife), compensation or insurance, providing risk-reducing alternatives, as well as managing tensions between stakeholders involved in these situations.

    Source: IE