BENGALURU: This November alone, four people died after coming into conflict with wild animals. From April to November 24, 2023, state recorded 42 animal deaths.
To mitigate rising man-animal conflict cases, the Karnataka Forest Department is now exploring multiple angles and is looking for out-of-the-box solutions. The list also includes reducing open defecation, radio collaring tigers, translocating wild cats and immunocontraception of cow elephants residing in coffee estates. But experts advise caution.
The department is also looking at forming a special team of experts, scientists and retired forest officials to undertake a detailed scientific study of forests and give practical solutions.
A senior forest official told The New Indian Express, "While Karnataka boasts of rising tiger, elephant and leopard numbers, it is now seeing a rise in conflict cases. There are around 200 elephants that permanently reside in coffee estates. Calves have been born here and these have never seen forests. To ensure their population does not rise, we are exploring of temporary immunocontraception of female elephants. We have requested people not to wander out of their homes during dawn and dusk, from 5-7.30 am and from 5-7 pm. At that time animals are running into forests and come in contact with animals, leading to conflict."
Adding to this an official from Rural Development and Panchayat Raj agreed to the observation made by forest officials that cases are reported during this time when rural people go for open defecation. "Despite constructing toilets, people still go for open defecation and get attacked, especially in fields and bushes in forest boundary," the RDPR official said.
The department is also procuring radio collars for tigers. "Tigers that come in conflict, but do not kill humans, aged and reside in buffer areas, whenever captured will be radio-collared. Then depending upon their health condition, they will either be shifted to rescue centres or relocated to other forests, where the population is less. Tigers aged above 10 years are only a number, especially when their canines are broken or they are injured. They should be captured. Permission from MoEFCC for this however is needed," the official added.
Apart from this, just like alerts are issued when elephants are seen wandering out of forests in Kodagu; alerts are also being sent out to villagers in border areas of tiger movements. A database of contact numbers is being created at the office of Range Forest Officers at all divisions to send alerts.
Noted tiger expert K Ullas Karanth said, translocation of tigers is not advisable as there have been adverse cases in the past. When an animal kills cattle, the department should immediately compensate the farmers and there is sufficient money with them to do so. But if it kills a human, then it should be immediately killed. Conflict with tigers and leopards arises when they are cornered by humans. If they are left alone, they will go back to the wild., southern Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.