Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 29 May 2023 5.37 PM IST

No end to man-animal conflict


Wild animals intruding into human habitats are a common song now. For nearly a week, every media portal got rammed with news just about PM-2, the rogue elephant that jeopardized the whole town of Bathery. Albeit the capture of the elephant, the natives of Wayanad never found any solace as another news instilled panic all over the town of Manathavady. A tiger on the prowl, humped into a farmer and killed the feeble one who was just 50. People rose in anger against the lackadaisical stance of the government in ending the fearful realm of wild animals in Wayanad and adjacent forest-bordering towns. The government really got to the receiving end of criticism but availed themselves after proclaiming a wholesome amount of Rs 50 lakhs compensation to the farmer’s family.

The Kerala government found a wiggle room to escape this time, but just to note, that in the last ten years, six unfortunates lost their lives to tiger attack in Wayanad. When such cases pop up, the government settles for reasonable compensation, but no real move is forged by the officials to avoid such gruesome deaths in the future.

The rogue elephant in Bathery made the alarm bells ring after it rummaged into the human habitat and participated in decimation. The pachyderm also attacked pedestrians and nearly killed one with its tuskers. After 4 days of labour, the officials could manage to bring down the big one. Even while being caged, the rogue one tried to swivel the veterinary surgeon by its trunk. Luckily, the surgeon escaped unhurt. In Kannur and Palakkad districts, more than six farms got destroyed by a herd of wild elephants that somehow made their sojourn into human space. As per records, in the last 15 years alone, more than 1500 people lost their lives to wild animal attacks.

Wild elephants and cannibalistic tigers aside, wild boars are also the new ones on the list to go fury in farmlands owned by people who lead vulnerable lives. With no measure taken to halt the frenzied run of wild boars in farmlands, many farmers feel betrayed and are readying to give up their lands. Almost 35 lakh people in Kerala live adjacent to the wild forest. 200 villages stay precarious with high chances of attack from wild animals. The numbers sound real and extreme, but the government stays idle.

A good number of people living in these areas depend on farming. So a wild animal stomping their farm is by some means a stomp straight to their lives. It is high time, the government revitalizes itself, and a detailed project can be done on how to curb the entry of these wild enemies. If prepared meticulously, the project can attract cooperation from the central government. Forest minister AK Sashindran earlier finalized it as the day-to-day plummeting of forest area that is forcing the wild animals to roam out of their preferred abode.

At the latest, talks are going strong about the government joining hands with ISRO to better the surveillance of wild animals sneaking into human territory. But, going by the usually settled practice, the government will lose grip on this issue and will make a return with irrefutable compensation only when another victim falls prey to these wilds.

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