Human-Animal Conflict


    In News

    • Recently, the Minister of State for Forest, Environment and Climate Change has tabled data on human-animal conflict in Lok Sabha.

    Key Findings

    • Different modes of killing amongst Elephants (Between 2018-19 and 2020-21)
      • 222 elephants were killed by electrocution across the country
      • 45 by trains: Odisha (12 out of 45) also had the highest number of elephant deaths caused by trains, followed by West Bengal (11) and Assam (9). 
      • 29 by poachers: Poaching deaths were highest in Meghalaya (12 out of 29) while poisoning deaths were highest in Assam (9 out of 11, including 8 in 2018-19 alone).
      • 11 by poisoning. 
    • Tiger killing: 
      • Among tigers, too, 29 were killed by poaching between 2019 and 2021, while 197 tiger deaths are under scrutiny. 
    • Human casualties of conflict with animals: 
      • Elephants killed 1,579 humans in three years:
        • 585 in 2019-20, 
        • 461 in 2020-21, and 
        • 533 in 2021-22. 

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    • States wise for elephant killing: 
      • Odisha accounted for the highest number of these deaths at 322, followed by Jharkhand at 291 (including 133 in 2021-22 alone), West Bengal at 240, Assam at 229, Chhattisgarh at 183, and Tamil Nadu at 152.
    • Tigers killed 125 humans in reserves between 2019 and 2021. 
      • Maharashtra accounted for nearly half these deaths, at 61. 

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    Human-animal Conflict

    • About: 
      • It refers to the interaction between wild animals and humans which results in a negative impact on people, animals, resources, and habitats. 
      • It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory which creates competition for space and resources.
      • Conflicts between the man and animal have occurred since the dawn of humanity. However, it has come to light ever more frequently in recent times.
    • Main causes of human wildlife conflict include: 
      • Habitat loss, 
      • Growth of 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.

    Preventive Measures

    • Surveillance: Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors can help in tracking the movement of animals and warn the local population.
    • Improvement of habitat: In-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival.
    • Re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
    • Awareness Programmes: To create awareness among people and sensitize them about the Do’s and Don’ts in the forest areas to minimize the conflicts between man and animal.
    • Training programs: Training to the police offices and local people should be provided for this purpose and the forest department should frame guidelines.
    • Boundary walls: The construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks. 
    • Technical and financial support: For the development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation.
    • Crop insurance should be provided in the event of destruction by wild animals.
    • Part of CSR: Safeguarding Tiger corridors, building eco-bridges and such conservation measures can be part of corporate social responsibility.

    Way Ahead

    • A wildlife standing committee with few members and in-depth technical knowledge for evolving effective site-specific plans/ mitigation strategies including recommendations on changing cropping patterns and for taking critical decisions at short notice, empowered under the law, is necessary.
    • The controversial clause in the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 that allows the “transfer and transport” of live elephants while recommending that the government could bring in additional checks to allow sale and purchase by religious institutions, should be amended.
    • The well-planned, integrated approaches to managing human-wildlife conflict can reduce conflicts and lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals.

    Source: IE