Increasing man-animal conflicts
Post by RK News on Monday, September 26, 2022
With the increase in the number of attacks by wild animals in the UT, the Wild Life Protection Department, Div Sopore, has issued an advisory urging people living too close to forests to avoid venturing out in early morning or evening hours. The advisory also cautions people of the area not to let their children and elderly people to move out alone. As per official reports, in 2021-2022, 12 people lost their lives and 31 got wounded in man-animal conflicts in the valley and most of the victims in these attacks were young children. The alarming increase of man-animal conflicts in the valley is a serious concern and demands immediate attention from the government and the concerned authorities. Experts are of the opinion that the incidents have gone up due to the shrinking habitat of wildlife species. Over the years, the number of animals has witnessed a drastic decline as the people have extended their households near the areas which were the habitats of the animals. Also, many of the wildlife areas remain unfenced and even soil mining activities are being undertaken near them. Jammu and Kashmir UT has a small protected area coverage which has led to the decline in the number of animal species. However, more than the individuals, it is the government which has to take the blame for the shrinking of the habitat as it is the UT’s responsibility and duty to ensure conservation of biodiversity. Protecting the wildlife species and warding off the incidents of the attacks on people should be the top priority of the government. But unfortunately, unlike the other sectors, wildlife has not received the due government attention. Many a time, the wildlife officials lack the equipments to deal with the incidents of man-animal conflict and the department is facing shortage of manpower. But in the wake of the heavy damages to property and the loss of lives, it is incumbent on the government to devise a policy to protect the habitat of the wildlife species and to ensure that lives are not lost. A comprehensive policy that envisages equipping the staff, creation of proper infrastructure within the protected areas and increasing the protected area network as well as stringent measures to prohibit man-animal conflicts is direly needed. Forest department must take a lead in alleviating the fear and losses due to human-animal encounters. Besides, informing people about the safety measures, the forest protection force must be trained effectively to tackle encounters between humans and animals. Moreover checks on the constructions around the wildlife areas need to be ensured so that the habitat of the animals is not disturbed. Government must prioritize safeguarding both human and animal lives.