Minister of State for Environment and Forests has called for an action plan and comprehensive strategy for tackling man-animal conflict. Speaking at a National Workshop on 'Human - Leopard Conflict Management' here today, the Minister - Shri Meena, said that we need to have a re-look at our existing strategies in this regard. He said that man-animal conflict is one of the challenging issues facing wildlife managers in the country. Shri Meena stated that man-animal conflict has assumed a variety of forms including monkey menace in urban areas, crop raids by ungulates and wild pigs, depredation by elephants and cattle and human lifting by tigers and leopards.
The Minister has also called for increasing financial assistance to the States for paying compensation to the villagers for the damage caused by the wild animals.
Various reasons have been attributed to the increase in human-leopard conflict. Depletion of the natural prey base, degradation of the habitat, suitability of man modified habitats to leopard, presence of stray dogs and cattle in forest fringe areas etc. are some of them. Crops like sugarcanes and tea estates provide excellent cover for leopards that facilitates their existence close to human beings and thus escalates the conflict. Such conflicts result in livestock depredation, predation on domestic dogs and killing and mauling of human beings. Perhaps, the most unfortunate part of the whole thing is the fear, dislike and the wider social insecurities it generates among the minds of people. The problem is acute in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Assam & Kashmir, Maharastra and Gujarat.