The alarming rise in the incidents of man-animal conflict is threatening the safety of both the human beings and animals alike.
If men are clearing the jungles and depriving animals of their natural habitats, animals too are getting back and devouring the humans which has forced the centre to devise means to contain it.
The initial data collected by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) from different states revealed that 653 persons were killed and 17,062 were injured in the last 10 years in 12 states like Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh.
Wild elephants accounted for the maximum number of human casualities -114, followed by tigers -95 and bears -55. In the case of injuries, bear attacks left the maximum number of people injured - 445, with 419 people injured in leopard attacks. These grisly figures are merely a tip of the iceberg.
“We are just collecting the data and other states are yet to respond. So the number may rise manifold,” an official said. States like J&K, West Bengal, Uttarkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka are yet to submit their data.
Apart from the men, 22,667 livestock have been killed by wild animals, with tigers leading the pack with 12,286 victims, followed by elephants with 7,691 cases.
The MoEF debated the issue on Thursday and sources said a meeting of the states is likely to be convened in the near future to debate the issue. Even a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting will be held, officials added.Kishor Rithe, member of the National Board of Wildlife last month wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue asking for a special package to affected areas to tackle the problem.
Rithe said a number of villagers around Maharashtra’s Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district had been killed or injured in leopard and tiger attacks. He said, the package should fund alternate means of livelihood specially for landless families and grazers living in these villages.