Govt banks on Indo-German project to halt animal deaths
Avni Killing, Jumbo Deaths In Backdrop
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.”
Tigress T1, also known as Avni, was killed in controversial operation in Maharashtra last week, prompting a central inquiry into the death