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NATION | Saturday, February 5, 2011 | Email | Print | | Back  


Losers on both sides as man-animal war rages
March 02, 2011   8:08:32 PM

Paritosh Kimothi | Dehradun

With 65 per cent of its geographical area covered by forest, the conflict between humans and wild animals in the State of Uttarakhand has assumed serious proportions. According to official figures, 315 humans have been killed and 824 injured in confrontations with wild animals between 2000 and 2011. A total of 94 big cats were declared ‘man-eaters’ during this time period with a majority of them having been destroyed. At least 20 tigers, 230 leopards and 18 elephants died from different causes during the same time period.

Of the 94 big cats declared ‘man-eaters’ between 2000 and 2011, 90 were leopards whereas four were tigers.

According to the State Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wild Life Warden, Shrikant Chandola, a tiger doesn’t compromise on its habitat and prey base whereas the leopard is able to adjust to varying habitats including areas of human habitations. This is one of the reasons why 90 leopards have been declared ‘man-eaters’ since 2000 while only four tigers were declared ‘man-eaters’ during this time period.

Since 2000, a total of 315 persons have died and 824 injured in Uttarakhand in attacks by wild animals including tigers, leopards, elephants and wild boars.

As per forest department statistics, during this time period 204 persons have been killed and 363 injured in attacks by leopards. Eighty-two persons have died and 63 injured in confrontations with elephants, 15 have died and 19 injured in confrontations with tigers, 15 have died and 374 injured in bear attacks while two have been killed and five injured in confrontations with wild boars. The population of the big three - tiger, leopard and elephant - is estimated at 200, 2,335 and 1,346, respectively, out of which 20 tigers, 230 leopards and 18 elephants have died in the State since 2000.

From the view point of human-animal conflict, the Badiyargarh area in Maniknath forest range of Narendranagar division in Tehri district and Gairsen area in the Lohwa range of Kedarnath division in Chamoli district are ‘very highly sensitive’ with most man-animal encounters involving confrontations between humans and leopards or bears. The Chaubatiyakhal area in Pauri and Dharkot area in Badarinath division have been marked ‘highly sensitive’ whereas the Pokhir area in Nainital, Khaudiyal in Lansdowne, Kailakhur in Pauri and Bachansyun in Rudraprayag are considered ‘sensitive’ from the viewpoint of human-animal conflict.

Both forest department officials and wildlife activists believe that the conflict between humans and wildlife in Uttarakhand will continue unless effective measures are taken to contain the situation.

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