Man-Animal Conflicts Rise in Kashmir, Nearly 200 Killed and Over 2,000 Injured since 2011
Man-animal conflicts have been rising across Jammu and Kashmir, in which nearly 200 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured since 2011. Despite the efforts of the department of wildlife protection, the conflicts between humans and animals have escalated in the Himalayan region.
The state’s data showed that 196 people were killed and 2,325 were injured in the past decade. Out of which, Kashmir reported 118 deaths and 1877 injuries while the Jammu region reported 78 deaths and 448 injuries. Earlier this month, a 4-year-old girl was mauled and killed by a leopard in Kashmir, creating despair and anger.
Chief Wildlife Warden of Jammu and Kashmir, Suresh Kumar Gupta said,
Man-animal conflict will continue but it can be minimised. The overall data of the past 10 years show that the situation has improved. From 32 deaths and 365 injuries to 10 deaths and 141 injuries last year, we have certainly improved the situation. One-third of the deaths have also reduced.
Gupta further said that the government is considering planting 80 percent fruit and fodder trees in jungles to help herbivores find food inside the jungle premises, which in turn will keep carnivores hunting for prey.
The recorded incidents show a downward trend in fatalities and injuries in recent years. According to Gupta, wildlife rehabilitation and increased plantation in forest areas are the major helping factors to avoid these episodes.
He also said that the wildlife protection department has set up 42 control rooms, working 24×7 to attend to any distress calls. There is also talk of creating a joint control room operated by wildlife, forest protection force and forest department to cover the areas close to forest proximities.
Reportedly, the department is well equipped to tackle such situations, with adequate cages, tranquilizer guns, trap poles, vehicles, mobikes and net guns.
It also provides Rs. 3,00,000 compensation in case of death or permanent incapacitation of a body part in man-animal conflicts, while Rs. 1,00,000 is provided in case of serious injuries and Rs. 15,000 for minor injuries.
Moreover, the department has issued an advisory and circulated videos on social media categorically explaining the dos and don’ts for such incidents. The field staff of the department merely captures 10 percent of the animals and mostly burst firecrackers to scare them away.