Earlier this week, Boniyar Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district was plunged into mourning as a leopard devoured three persons within a span of two days. The Kashmir valley has been witnessing numerous wild animal attacks for many years now.
As per experts, human-wildlife conflict is essentially set off by competition for shared natural resources and happens due to the negative interactions mounting between humans and wild animal species. The objectionable consequences of human-wildlife conflict, the experts underline, are crop annihilation, reduced agricultural productivity, struggle for grazing lands and water supply, livestock predation, injury and death to humans, infrastructure damage, and amplified risk of zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife and livestock.
Destruction of forests sends wild animals closer to humans. There were reports when the covid-19 pandemic started that the animals carried the virus along with them. The biodiversity in forests harmlessly retains dangerous viruses and other pathogens among a vast pool of wild animals, away from people.
This aspect also underscores the value of maintaining viable ecosystems, and eliminating the entry of the wild animals from entering human surroundings.
There has been reckless exploitation of the environment over the years. Both officials at the helm of affairs and people are responsible. The growing man-animal conflicts serve as a dire warning to all the concerned that there should be no hasty permissions for projects in already enfeebled forests. There is ample evidence that environmental protection confers health protection and forests should be left undisturbed.
If poaching is one aspect of the conservation challenge, the other side of the story is the fast encroachments that threaten to endanger animals and the environment.
There is a need to promote conservation encompassing survival of all as well as diversity of the ecosystem. There is a need to create awareness, as also the action aimed at preventing people from causing disturbances to the wildlife. Also, there is an urgent need for the authorities to sensitise people and also devise foolproof measures to tackle wild animals as and when they venture close to human populations so as to prevent the loss of previous life.
It’s imperative to implement strict mitigation strategies for resolving human-wildlife conflicts. Also it is the duty of all stakeholders, and experts from the concerned sectors to improve imparting community education and the perception of the general public regarding wild animals.