Editorial | Wild-Human Conflict

Representational Photo: Flickr

If things are allowed to function in a natural state, there is hardly a chance of wild animals walking into human habitat. It is only when we have disturbed the scheme that we are now paying the price with our life. We frequently come across the news that a bear or a leopard walked into some village and caused panic in the locality. Some times the wild animals stealthy attack some passerby, or invade into a compound of a house. This way the persons attacked receive serious injuries. On many occasions if the animal is spotted before any such attack, the villagers try to defend themselves by mounting a counter attack. Given the sensitivity towards animal rights such incidents attract media attention, and we see people trying not to harm the animal as that might invite some legal action. On some occasions the wildlife department officials arrive in time and save the animal, as well as the villagers.

But we have lost many lives to this conflict. On Tuesday this week an elderly man from Damhal Hanjipora area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district succumbed to injuries at SKIMS, Soura. He was attacked outside his home in Chek-i-Ramberpora area of D H Pora by a leopard. The frequency of such news might have made this a stale subject, but the loss of life should not go unattended. It is time to seriously ask why such a conflict happens in the first place, and in such events why we fail to save human lives. The general sense is that it is the humans who have disturbed the wild habitat and that is what makes these animals to walk into human habitation in search of food. This entails a macro policy that would ensure there is no encroachment on forest areas, and the wild life is allowed to flourish in a natural state. But beyond this, it is time for the concerned departments to take effective steps so that no human life is lost in such attacks. To this end these departments need to sensitise the vulnerable populations, and also equip them properly so that they can defend themselves in case a wild animal  is found in the area.