Human-wildlife conflict: A way out

Recently incidences of wild animals — mainly elephants, tigers, bison, and wild boars — attacking human beings have been reported from the state of Kerala.

Man-animal conflict simply refers to the interaction between man and animal and the resultant negative impact on man and his resources or animal and its habitat. Conflicts between man and animal have occurred since the dawn of humanity. However, it has come to light even more frequently in recent times.

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Why is this conflict increasing?

Human population explosion, shrinking forest cover, poaching, rapid and unplanned urbanization, which entails electrification penetrating forest areas, increasing road density, destruction of natural animal corridors, agricultural expansion, and cultivation up to forest boundaries;decline in the quality of forest habitats, largely due to the cultivation of alien plants 

State boundaries are pushed into the forest land, making wetlands and forest patches dry up. Wildlife, thus, is disturbed, homeless and starved. forests are no more connected, since we have destroyed the corridors for their movement. And that is why they are being killed on roads, railway lines and by electricity lines.

The degradation and fragmentation of wild habitats – whether due to encroachments for agriculture, housing, mining, dams etc, or linear infrastructure such as roads and railways – is increasingly driving wildlife towards human settlements.

WAY OUT

A proper, well-planned nationwide land use policy which took into serious consideration the needs of wild animals and forest dwellers.

In Assam, a new experiment is underway – parts of fields are being left fallow for elephants to feed in, creating ‘elephant meal zones’. Thus, a land-sharing system can also work, if incentivised and planned.

We need to take the decision of leaving forest and elephant habitat intact, and creating cushions for farmers and elephants in elephant areas that are under cultivation.

Every state should have rescue units that are permanently manned — have a vehicle, a veterinarian, a tranquilising gun,”  “You have to let your own professionals deal with these issues.”

Moreover, increasingly, India will need rescue centres for problem animals. the primary step towards coexistence is sensitisation. People need to learn to make way for the animal.

Conservation entails strong ethical , ecological , economic and aesthetic arguments.

Ethical basically that living creatures have an intrinsic right to exist

Ecological point of view they play a dominant role in an ecosystem by virtue of their biomass and position in intricate food web, disappearance of species could lead to disruption of ecosystem functioning and resulting extinction of other species.

Wildlife is a source of considerable pleasure for many people.

The use of active bio-fences – wherein food crops and/or habitations are fenced off using a ‘living perimeter’ that keeps wild animals at bay while creating additional sources of income – is an effective way of addressing this issue. Such bio-fences can consist of beehives in conjunction with cash crops like chilli and citrus, thus repelling elephants through thorns, stings and capsaicin smell. farmers using such fences can derive additional income through the sale of honey and beeswax, and get a better yield from their crops due to improved pollination.

Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) units provide in situ emergency relief to displaced or distressed wild animals. Each MVS unit comprises a transport vehicle, a trained wildlife veterinarian, an animal attendant, equipment, and supplies; the project envisages the placement of such units in major Protected Areas across the country, ensuring the availability of round-the-clock medical attention to wild animals in need.

Develop an electronic Animal Detection System that could effectively monitor animal movement and send automated alerts in time to prevent animal-train collisions.

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