Human-wildlife conflict

After the onset of autumn there has been a rise in the incidents of human-wildlife conflict. A number of persons have been injured. The presence of the wild animals in the residential areas has created panic. Besides leopards, black bear have also been spotted at a number of places. The department of wildlife protection despite the shortage of manpower and required equipments is trying to deal with such incidents and protect people from the attacks of wild animals.

Due to practical difficulties, including the shortage of the staff, the department officials cannot reach each and every place simultaneously where such incidents occur. There is an immediate need to strengthen the department by recruiting more personnel and providing them the equipment in required quantity. There is also a need to reduce the human intervention into wildlife habitats. This intervention is forcing the wild animals to leave from there and go towards human habitats.

The construction of roads and buildings in the wildlife habitats disturb the animals, and wild animals come out from there. In autumn the bears move towards orchards to eat fruit and the conflict occurs. Leopards also move in search of food. Stray dogs are an easy prey for the leopards. Since the population of dogs is increasing largely in residential areas, leopards too move towards the residential areas. The wild animals then attack humans, mostly children.

A number of children were killed for last several years in Kashmir particularly in north Kashmir. Several others were also injured. Some people throw leftover food in their neighbourhood which attracts dogs to these areas.

Then leopards also enter the area and attack people. Throwing of leftover food like this should be avoided. The department of wildlife protection issues some guidelines for the safety of people whenever a wild animal is spotted in any area.

These guidelines should be strictly followed and not violated. The guidelines include proper lighting in and around the houses and avoiding outside movement of residents during evening and early morning hours.

The children should not be allowed to move out alone. Some adult family members must accompany them outside. There is an immediate need to make efforts at government and non-government levels to prevent the human- wildlife conflict so that precious lives are not lost in such incidents.

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