DEHRADUN: With the elephant population in Uttarakhand having increased over 10% from the year 2017, wildlife enthusiasts applauded the conservation efforts but warned about human-elephant conflict.
AG Ansari, Ramnagar based conservationist commenting on the issue said, "The need is to maintain the habitat of elephants and protect, conserve the elephant corridors. At present, the state has total 11 corridors. Disturbances in the corridors have serious consequences in terms of human-wildlife conflict."
According to the data of the last census in 2020 by the state forest department, the state has 2026 adult elephants in comparison to the 2017 census when the numbers stood at 1839.
In 2001 census, the number of elephants stood 1507 which increased to 1582 in 2003, 1510 in 2005, 1346 in 2007, 1559 in 2012 and 1797 in 2015 census.
Rajiv Bhartari, State Forest Chief, Principal Chief Conservator of forests, Uttarakhand said, "We are aware of the challenge of maintaining quality habitat for the elephants in the state. Mechanisms are being implemented throughout the state to minimize conflict and maintain the quality of the habitat including corridors."
This year till date total of 10 elephants and 4 human beings have died in conflict incidents.
In conflict incidents with elephants total of 184 human lives were lost in the last 21 years while 181 were left injured.
The department lists four animals which are top of the list pertaining to human-wildlife conflict which includes leopard, elephant, Himalayan Black bear, and tiger.
With human-animal conflict raging in Uttarakhand, the state forest department has come up with a 4-point formula to tackle the issue.
This includes management of garbage disposal to deter dogs and other animals which act as easy prey for the predator animals such as leopards, maintenance and installation of solar light and fencing, lantana grass field management which acts as a shelter for the predatory animals, and enough availability and use to toilets in the area as which are in the vicinity of forests to prevent people venturing out in the open.
This year from January till July 2021 total of 29 people have died in the state while 66 were left injured. Apart from this 62 leopards, 10 elephants, and 5 tigers too have died in this duration in the state.