Unprecedented  rise in human-wildlife conflicts in the State

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By   our special Correspondent

Thrissur, March 29 (IVC)    There was an  unprecedented increase  in the human wildlife conflicts in the State in the fiscal 2023-24.

                With  the  killing  of  a 30-year old tribal woman  yesterday  at  Meppadi  in the Wynad district , the total number of  lives lost  in the Wynad district touched to 12, the  official  sources said.

                The  tribal  woman Mini was trampled  to death  by a  wild  elephant in the Meppadi forest  range  under  the   South  Wayanad  Forest Division on March  28.

                Mini  wife of  Suresh  of the Kattunayakka  tribal  settlement was  under  the   Mupainad  Grama  Panchayat.  The  mishap  occurred   near  their  settlement which  is  nearly  10 kms  from the Vaduvanchal town in  the  district.  The  wild elephant  attacked  the  couple  while  they  were  collecting honey  from a  tree. 

                Today  a wild elephant  entered the natural village at Thumburmuzhy  near  Chalakudy  in Thrissur district  and the animal damaged it  and destroyed  the  door  and window of  the rest house ,   the official sources said.

                In another  incident  in kurachira in the Wayanad  district today , a wild  elephant  faced by  running the  travellers  and they  had a miraculous escape.

                The  Chief  Wildlife  Warden  today  issued an order  to  send  the bison which appeared  in the  Spring Valley in Idukki  district  back to the forest safely.  If failed to send the animal to forest,  the Captor gun application  to tranquilize it   may be  resorted, the order said.

                The incidents t of   wild elephants ,tigers, leopards  , bears, and  wild  gaurs entering the  human habitats and  killing  persons and destroying their properties  and crops are  on the increase  unprecedently, the official sources said.

                The human-wildlife conflicts  have claimed  95  lives in the in2023-24 in the State.  There were  8873 incidents, including 98  human causalities  during  2022-23  according  to  the  Economic Review 2022-23. Wayanad  has been on top  of the  list with  69  deaths reported in between 2011 and 2024.

                In the  light of the  escalating  cases, the  Kerala  Government  decided this  month  to declare human-animal conflict as  a  State-specific disaster.  Kerala  is the first  State  in the  country to do so. Official sources said adding  earlier the  responsibility  of managing  such  conflicts was  with  the  Forest  department. Human-wildlife interactions  are multifaceted with  temporal  and spatial spec cities.  Hardly  any  serious conflicts are   reported from  a rich  wildlife area such  as Periyar  Tiger  Reserve while  most  parts  of  Wayanad  and Idukki  are  contrasting, according  to the  Chief  Scientist, Kerala  Forest  Research Institute (KFRI), T V Sajeev.   

                “The  reasons  include forest  degeneration, hydrology  of forests, impact  of the  floods in  2018  and  2019, proliferation of  resorts  on  the forest  fringes, behavioral  changes  of the  wildlife and  invasion of  non-edible alien plants and trees”. Sajeev  added. 

                Fragmentation  of  wildlife habitats is  a major  leading to the  conflicts. The  causes for  the  conflicts  are  mostly location-specific, Dr  P S Esa former Director  of   the  KFRI said. 

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