Declaring wild animals as vermin – MoEF’s solution for man-animal conflicts
Javadekar releases data for man-animal conflicts - outlines solution which includes eradicating wild animals
The Minister for MoEF&CC Shri Prakash Javadekar while answering in Rajya Sabha today released data regarding animal populations and loss of life in man-animal conflict.
He said that the estimates of population of major wild animals indicate that there has been an increase in number of animals. The number of Asiatic lions has increased from 304 in 1995 to 523 in 2015, Tiger has increased from 1411 in 2006 to 2226 in 2014 and the Elephants from 25569 in 1993 to 29391-30711 in 2012.
Incidences of loss of human lives and damage to crops by wild animals are reported in various parts of the country from time to time. As such data of such incidents are not collated in the Ministry. However, the reports received from the States in National Tiger Conservation Authority and Project Elephant indicate the following data on human death due to Tiger and Elephant.
Tiger Elephant 2012-13 22 371 2013-14 24 335 2014-15 26 63 Current Year Not available Not available Total 72 769
Surprisingly the minister said that there is no data for number of people who have lost their lives in man-elephant conflict. Recently the R. K. Srivastav, Inspector General of Forests had said that every year 500 people lose their lives in man-elephant conflicts. The Chattishgarh forest minister had said last month that 63 people were killed in Chattishgarh in Man-elephant conflicts last year. For more details check http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/indi...l-7-issue-vii/
Shri Javadekar said that degradation of the habitat including, depletion of water and food availability is considered some of the reasons for wild animals to come out of its natural habitat. Though this statement is true for the existing protected areas, a lot of wildlife also exist outside our protected areas. A lot of migratory corridors of elephants are outside the existing protected area network and the Elephant Task Force report had recommended that these areas be urgently secured by buying up those lands. Unfortunately, the Government has done precious little apart from branding the elephant as the National Heritage Animal.
Wildlife management primarily focuses on improvement of habitats of wild animals by augmenting the availability of food and water in forest areas to reduce the entry of animals from forests to habitations.
He further said that the Central Government provides financial assistance to State/Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats', 'Project Tiger' and ’Project Elephant', for augmenting their efforts for management of wildlife and their habitats.
The assistance is also provided to the States for payment of ex-gratia relief, management of wildlife conflict situations and construction/erection of physical barriers, such as barbed wire fence, solar powered electric fence, bio-fencing, boundary walls etc. wherever feasible. In many parts of the country, anti-depredation squads have also been set up to drive away problematic animals.
Keeping in view the losses to crops inflicted by the wild animals, this Ministry, on 24th December, 2014 issued an advisory to the States highlighting the legal provisions under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 to deal with the human-wildlife conflict situations. Vide this advisory, Ministry has also sought proposals from State/Union Territory Governments, after objective assessment of the situation with details of the areas in which notification under section 62 of the Act, declaring any wild animals as vermin for specified period, could be helpful in management of conflict. The same advisory has also been sent to the Chief Minister’s and Environment and Forest Minister’s of all the States/Union Territory Governments and also to all the Council of Minister’s in the Government of India. Despite vehement protests by conservationists, the MoEF&CC has continued to stick to its stand which reminds us of the British days.
Shri Javadekar further stated that his Ministry has also issued a detailed advisory on 1st June, 2015 to the State/Union Territory Governments regarding the priority actions for management of human wildlife conflict. The State/UT Governments have been requested to institute a ‘Human Wildlife Management Strategy’ along with other suggested measures for the proper management and prevention of human wildlife conflict situations.