Govt banks on Indo-Ger­man project to halt an­i­mal deaths

Avni Killing, Jumbo Deaths In Back­drop

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Cen­tre is bank­ing on an Indo-Ger­man Hu­man-Wildlife con­flict mit­i­ga­tion project to prevent a re­cur­rence of the con­tro­ver­sial killing of ti­gress Avni in Ma­ha­rash­tra and deaths of seven ele­phants by elec­tro­cu­tion in Odisha last month.

The Indo-Ger­man project aims to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port at the na­tional level and in se­lected states for ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­flict mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures so that both hu­man and an­i­mal lives could be saved by shift­ing from ‘con­flict’ to ‘co-ex­is­tence’ mode.

“We have been do­ing pi­lots in three states — Ut­tarak­hand, West Ben­gal and Kar­nataka — un­der the In­doGer­man project. Three sites have been se­lected keep­ing in mind tiger and ele­phant pop­u­la­tion in those ar­eas,” said S Sathyaku­mar, sci­en­tist at Dehradun-based Wildlife In­sti­tute of In­dia (WII).

Kodagu for­est cir­cle in Kar­nataka, Terai Arc Land­scape in Ut­tarak­hand and Go­ru­mara wildlife divi­sion in north Ben­gal are three ar­eas where the gov­ern­ment agen­cies have been work­ing in tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion with the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

Sathyaku­mar, who deals with the Indo-Ger­man project, told TOI on Satur­day that the ob­jec­tive is to frame guide­lines and stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures (SOPs) so that hu­mans and wildlife could co-ex­ist.

“The idea is to prevent con­flict wher­ever pos­si­ble through tak­ing en­abling mea­sures and cre­at­ing aware­ness among peo­ple liv­ing around the wildlife habi­tat and their path of move­ment from one re­gion to other,” he said.

The suc­cess of the pi­lot project, signed last year, will be repli­cated at the na­tional level, cov­er­ing pro­tected ar­eas, na­tional parks and wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies.

An of­fi­cial note says that the project fo­cuses on three out­put ar­eas — de­vel­op­ment of ac­tion plan to re­duce hu- man wildlife con­flict, pi­lot ap­pli­ca­tion of a holis­tic ap­proach and in­stru­ments for mit­i­ga­tion of con­flicts and fa­cil­i­tat­ing ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ment of key stake­hold­ers.

Fig­ures, com­piled by the Union en­vi­ron­ment min­istry, show that more than 1,600 peo­ple were killed due to ele­phant and tiger at­tacks across the coun­try be­tween 2014-15 and 2017-18. While 1,557 peo­ple were killed due to ele­phant at­tacks, 49 were killed due to tiger at­tacks dur­ing the pe­riod.

Ac­cord­ing to WWF-In­dia, tigers tend to avoid peo­ple, but can at­tack in self de­fence if they are taken by sur­prise or if they are with their young ones. Such in­ci­dences may some­times lead to hu­mans be­ing mauled or killed by chance.

It says, “Oc­ca­sion­ally, an aged, sick or in­jured tiger that is un­able to hunt its nat­u­ral prey may also kill a hu­man be­ing and feed on the body. A few such tigers may re­sort to killing hu­man be­ings in­ter­mit­tently since man is an easy prey. But not all aged, sick or in­jured tigers be­come man-eaters.”

AFP

Ti­gress T1, also known as Avni, was killed in con­tro­ver­sial op­er­a­tion in Ma­ha­rash­tra last week, prompt­ing a cen­tral in­quiry into the death

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