Recently, The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre, Kerala government, and 12 other states on a petition seeking directions to ban the use of explosives to avoid confrontation with wild animals.
What is the background of this news?
A petition had been filed following the death of a pregnant wild elephant in Kerala after it ate food stuffed with firecrackers.
It sought a direction from the Union of India (UOI) and States to issue guidelines for the tracking of elephants in order to save them from the threat of extinction and cruelty against them.
The petition sought to declare the practice of using barbaric means like the use of explosives to avert wild animals as unconstitutional, illegal, and violated of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The plea sought necessary amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals Act, 1960 to enhance punishments to offenders.
And, Guidelines should be framed to track elephants in order to stop cruelty against them and save them from becoming extinct
What is Man-animal conflict? It refers to the interaction between wild animals and humans which results in a negative impact on people, animals, resources, and habitats. It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory which creates competition for space and resources.Conflicts between the man and animal have occurred since the dawn of humanity. However, it has come to light ever more frequently in recent times.
Image Credit: Times of India
What are the causes of man-animal conflict?
In modern times rapid urbanization and industrialization have led to the diversion of forest land to non-forest purposes, as a result, the wildlife habitat is shrinking.
The expansion of road and rail network through forest ranges has resulted in animals getting killed or injured in accidents on roads or railway tracks.
The increasing population has also led to many human settlements coming up near the peripheries of protected areas and encroachment in the forest lands by local people for cultivation and collection of food and fodder etc. therefore increasing pressure on limited natural resources in the forests.
What are the effects of this conflict?
Injury and loss of life of humans and wildlife, crop damage, livestock depredation, predation of managed wildlife stock, damage to human property, destruction of habitat, the collapse of wildlife populations and reduction of geographic range.
How we can prevent this conflict?
Monitoring and Surveillance- Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors can help in tracking the movement of animals and warn the local population.
Improvement in habitat- In-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival.
Migrating Animals- Re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centers will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
Awareness Programmes- To create awareness among people and sensitize them about the Do’s and Don’ts in the forest areas to minimize the conflicts between man and animal.
Training programs- Training to the police offices and local people should be provided for this purpose forest department should frame guidelines.
Boundary walls- The construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks.
Technical and financial support- For the development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation.
Crop Insurance- Crop insurance should be provided in the event of destruction by wild animals.
Part of CSR- Safeguarding Tiger corridors, building eco-bridges and such conservation measures can be part of corporate social responsibility.
What are the initiatives at national and international level to minimize man animal conflict?
In the Western Ghats of India, a new conservation initiative has utilized texting as an early warning system to prevent human-elephant encounters. Elephant tracking collars embedded with SMS chips automatically text nearby residents, warning them of recent elephant movements.
In Canada, authorities have constructed wildlife corridors, areas of preserved native habitat in human dominated regions, providing wildlife with a safe pathway as they travel between one to another.To keep elephants at a safe distance from their farms and homes, some African villagers have turned to two unlikely, all-natural solutions: bees and hot peppers. Elephants dislike the chemical capsaicin found in chili peppers, prompting farmers in Tanzania to smother their fences with a mixture of oil and chili peppers.