Deforestation stoking man-animal battles; UP sees over 36 deaths in big cat attacks since 2020

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LUCKNOW:Elevated man-animal battle in and across the three important tiger reserves in Uttar Pradesh have emerged as a serious trigger for concern lately.

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) and the upcoming Amangarh Tiger Reserve (ATR) have reported greater than three dozen deaths resulting from assaults by the large cat household — two dozen killed in Dudhwa alone since 2020.

Wildlife consultants say that deforestation which is decreasing the forest measurement, growth of human settlements and agriculture and overgrazing by livestock have led to elevated man-animal conflicts.

The sugarcane crops in these areas present a protected haven for the large cats that disguise among the many crops and assault any intruder’.

“The problem is that people cut down trees for firewood and extend the boundaries of human settlements in and around the tiger reserves. As the forest area gets shrunk, the big cats venture out and this leads to man-animal conflict. People also send their cattle to graze in the forest which again, attracts the wild animals,” stated Brij Kishore, a wildlife professional in Pilibhit.

Farmers have approached the forest officers, looking for a protected zone.

“There is no gap between human habitats and forest area in the plains. Often people fail to detect the presence of a wild animal till they come face to face in a potential man-animal conflict situation. Therefore, a safe zone is necessary. We plan to develop at least a 500-metre safe zone to separate villages and forest,” stated a forest official in Bijnor the place the ATR is positioned.

Pilibhit and Dudhwa are the 2 tiger reserves which might be most inclined to such conflicts.

“The forest officials tell us not to move out alone but how do we earn a livelihood by staying at home? Whenever there is any incident, we are told to take care of ourselves and stay at home. The government should set up some fencing to ensure that wild animals do not venture out of the forest area,” says Keshav Ram, a resident of Bhood Gautia village.

Two years in the past, the World Large Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) had ready a crew of ‘Bagh Mitra’ to assist deal with the rising variety of man-animal conflicts within the Terai area of Uttar Pradesh.

A complete of fifty Bagh Mitras had been chosen in Lakhimpur Kheri and 75 in Pilibhit district. They had been skilled in sensitizing residents, understanding tiger/leopard behaviour, pug marks identification and offering help in rescue operations.

Anil, a Bagh Mitra from Mohammadi in Lakhimpur stated, “We were trained in general tips and tools used in case a big cat strays close to a village. We have nearly 15 villages in the region. We can now identify carnivores through their pug marks and the steps to be taken to push the animal into the forest area. During training, we came to know that sugarcane tigers are actually beneficial for the farmers as they kill wild boars and nilgai that damage the crops.”

He acknowledged that “Unlike forest tigers, the tigers living in sugarcane fields are getting used to the presence of human beings and there are rare instances of them attacking the human population in the region.”

In response to the all-India tiger estimation, the variety of tigers has elevated considerably to 65 within the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve whereas Lakhimpur Kheri has 107 tigers with 82 in forest areas and 25 straying into sugarcane fields within the Mohammadi vary.

In a major transfer, the Uttar Pradesh authorities has made the man-animal battle a ‘State Declared Catastrophe’ bringing such incidents beneath the ambit of the State Catastrophe Response Fund (SDRF) to make sure higher coordination and aid throughout such mishaps within the state.

This may allow sooner financial aid to the victims of assaults by wild animals.

As per the provisions of the order, in instances of human demise resulting from man-animal battle, aid of Rs 5 lakh can be given to the household of the deceased whereas the disbursement of compensation for harm can be in accordance with the SDRF pointers.

The order additionally makes it clear that the quantity of Rs 1 lakh per demise can be organized by the state forest division from its personal price range to the Income Division.

The order additionally speaks about creating consciousness, making certain police help in areas the place such conflicts occur and correct pointers to deal with conditions when wild animals enterprise into human habitation. The federal government order makes it obligatory for the authorities to disburse the aid quantity inside 24 hours of the incident and the manufacturing of the autopsy examination report of the sufferer.

Notably, as per the central forestry guidelines, the cost of ex-gratia quantity to victims of untamed animal assaults is supplied with a view to decreasing retaliatory killings. This transfer will assist mitigate acrimony amidst native villagers, forest division and native administration within the battle zones, particularly, the districts within the Terai arc panorama.

For the primary time, lions and wild boars have been added to the checklist of untamed animals which incorporates tiger, leopard, Indian wolf, hyena, crocodile, elephant and rhinoceros as predators. In response to sources, 98 instances of human and large cat conflicts have been reported within the state within the final two years. Tiger assaults in Uttar Pradesh alone have claimed seven lives within the final three years.

The declaration of such battle beneath the SDRF can even imply that police and native administration would now intervene in a scenario whereby a herd of elephants enters a village, a leopard being noticed or a tiger venturing into human habitation, stated a wildlife professional.

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