Daily News Analysis

Man-Animal Conflict  

4th October, 2021 ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

                                            

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Context: In the wake of an increasing elephant menace in the forest areas of Kasaragod and Kanhangad forest range, the participation of local people is turning out to be a huge support for the Rapid Response Team (RRT), which had been struggling due to staff shortage.

 

Asian Elephant

  • It is distributed througout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, from India in the west, Nepal in the north, Sumatra in the south, and to Borneo in the east.
  • The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia.
  • Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Elephant is National Heritage animal of India.
  • It is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching.
  • The Asian elephant is listed on CITES Appendix I.
    • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

What is Man-Animal Conflict (MAC)?

It refers to the negative interactions between people and wild animals, with consequences for both people and their resources and wildlife and their habitats (IUCN 2020).

  • Over 2,000 people in India were killed by elephants while tigers claimed over 200 lives in the last five years, according to data provided by the government.

Common Reasons:

  • Competition for shared natural resources between people and wildlife
  • Human population growth and the transformation of land use.
  • shrinking forest cover, poaching, rapid and unplanned urbanization
  • electrification penetrating into forest areas
  • increasing road density
  • destruction of natural animal corridors
  • agricultural expansion and cultivation up to forest boundaries.

Consequences of MAC:

  • Influences food security of people and the well-being of both people and animals.
  • serious global threat to sustainable development and conservation in urban and rural landscapes.
  • destruction of crops and reduced farm productivity
  • competition for grazing lands and water, livestock predation, injury and death to farmers,
  • damage to infrastructure and
  • increased risk of disease transmission among wildlife and

Conflict mitigation strategies includes:

  • Lethal control
  • Translocation of problematic animals
  • Predator-deterring guard dogs
  • Effective land use planning
  • Compensation
  • Spatial analyses and mapping conflict hotspots:
  • Erection of fences or other barriers
  • Managing garbage to prevent attraction of carnivores
  • Improving community education and perception of animals
  • population size regulation and
  • endangered species preservation
  • applying scientific research, sociological studies, and the arts to reducing conflicts.

Existing government policies:

  • The government has come up with some policies to grapple with the problem: The compensation for human deaths has been increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh;
  • Project Elephant and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines have been issued to mitigate the conflict.
  • Immune-contraception has been introduced in order to control the population of nilgai, monkeys and wild boars.

Conclusion:

  • Resolving human-wildlife conflicts and fostering coexistence requires well-informed, holistic, and collaborative processes that take into account underlying social, cultural and economic contexts.
  • Government must explicitly include human-wildlife conflict in national policies and strategies for wildlife management, development and poverty alleviation.
  • At the national level, cross-sectoral collaboration between forestry, wildlife, agriculture, livestock and other relevant sectors is key to tackle this menace.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/elephant-menace-participation-of-local-people-turns-out-to-be-huge-support-for-rapid-response-team/article36817435.ece?homepage=true