Skip to main content

Keeping people and tigers safe

As conservation of wild species becomes more successful, higher levels of human-wildlife conflict are being reported in many parts of the country. The outcome of such encounters is a distressing number
of human lives lost, and the tragic elimination of the wild creatures involved in the attacks. The ‘man-eating tiger’ incident in Dodabetta in the Nilgiris, which ended in the gunning down of the cat, brings to the fore the dilemma of ensuring a safe distance between wild animals and people. Evidently, there are no easy answers to this question, not just in India but in several other countries that have well-protected wildlife. Two strategies often adopted to prevent conflict rely on modification of human and animal behaviour. Farmers are encouraged to switch to cash crops to avoid attracting elephants, while forest departments provide access to water within protected areas to stop animals from moving out. Wild creatures in turn learn to avoid places rendered inaccessible through trench-digging and building of fences. Yet, these are by no means fail-safe interventions. It is necessary to identify areas for intensive protection, and encourage forest-dwelling communities to move out — of course, with sufficient attention devoted to their rehabilitation at a new location.
Removal of problem animals often becomes unavoidable if there are human casualties and there is a prospect of more people being killed. It would appear ironic, but conservation advice in such circumstances is usually to swiftly eliminate the lone animal, such as the Dodabetta tiger, rather than attempt slow capture and risk negative public attitudes to tigers as a whole. Unfortunately, it is not easy to identify the individual tiger or leopard, and the conflict may continue even after one animal is shot dead. In Chikmagalur district, for instance, 17 leopards had to be shot in 1995 before the problem of attacks on people stopped. Research evidence supports a strategy that relies on ‘spatial separation’ of people and animals as a more rewarding means of conflict reduction. If isolated villages and free ranging cattle are moved out of the small land area that makes up India’s protected forests, the risk of an encounter with fierce creatures can be brought down. The problem today is that successfully managed national parks and sanctuaries are witnessing a rise in tiger and leopard numbers, leading to the dispersal of old and injured animals towards habitations on the periphery and even beyond. Future conservation strategies would have to rely on well-administered wildlife sanctuaries, and equally on a voluntary resettlement programme for forest communities.


Popular posts from this blog

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.