BENGALURU: Research across many villages neighbouring five wildlife reserves in Karnataka and three other states has revealed that more than 30 wildlife species are responsible for damage to life and property.
Every year, hefty compensations are paid by the state governments in view of the recurring man-animal conflicts. In view of this, conservationists have called for improved management of human-wildlife conflicts. In fact, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest levels of damage by wildlife in the recent years. Both states have a detailed compensation policy and have paid the highest compensation amounts with respect to crop loss (Karnataka) and livestock loss (MP). On an average, people reported annual crop losses worth Rs 12,559 and livestock losses of Rs 2,883.
In Karnataka, the study was done in villages around protected areas of Kali, Bhadra, BRT, Bandipur and Nagarhole that support a diversity of species including conflict-prone endangered species like tigers, elephants, leopards, sloth bears, gaur, sambar, chital and dhole.
The study examined patterns of human-wildlife conflict and mitigation use by 5,196 families from 2011-14 from 2,855 villages neighbouring 11 wildlife reserves across western, central, and southern India.
In 5,000 households surveyed across these reserves, 71 per cent households had lost crops, livestock by 17 per cent, and human injury and death reported by 3 per cent of households. Further, families based near reserves were found to use 12 different mitigation techniques for protection - night-time watch, scare devices, and fencing, etc.
Krithi Karanth, conservation scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Sahila Kudalkar, research associate, Centre for Wildlife Studies, said, “There is an urgent need to strengthen conflict management across India what with 32 wildlife species damaging life and property. Effective prevention techniques, strengthening existing compensation schemes, and an open inclusive dialogue between local communities, governments, and conservationists is the need of the hour.”
Thirty two conflict species were recorded in 11 reserves across four states. Out of them, wild pigs, Nilgais and elephants were the top species for crop damage while tigers, leopards and canids were the top ranked species responsible for livestock depredation.