Discuss the causes behind various forms of human-wildlife conflict in India. What are the steps taken by the government, with emphasis on the “landscape approach to address Human-Elephant conflicts”.

According to estimates, approximately 90 elephants die annually in India as a consequence of human-wildlife conflict. Other categories of Human-Wildlife conflict are Wolf attacks, Monkey menace, leopards entering urban spaces, Neelgai entering farms, etc.

Causes for Human-Wildlife conflict:

  • Animals outside protected areas – Almost 100% wolfs, 100% monkeys, 50% blackbucks, and 30% elephants line outside the boundaries of protected areas and enter into conflict with humans.
  • Encroachment in and around protected areas and eco-sensitive zones often brings humans in contact with animals.
  • Human settlements remain in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries even after various restrictions.
  • Scarcity of food and water drives animals outside their habitats.
  • Various places lying on the Chhota Nagpur plateau have forest areas outside the protected areas. This makes residential areas common for both animals and humans.

Steps taken by Government:

  • A landscape approach to manage Human-Elephant conflict:
    • Management of land and water areas is looked at with a landscape approach for the avoidance of such conflict. Adequate measures are taken up at the landscape level to ensure that elephants have access to adequate food and water so that they do not wander out on plantation areas.
    • It involves measures like building elephant corridors, making eco bridges, keeping elephants away from rail tracks, etc.
  • The Forest department actively works to capture and relocate animals who accidentally enter human settlements.
  • Ecological bridges are being encouraged to ensure connectivity between protected areas.
  • Eco-sensitive zones around protected areas act as buffer zones to avoid conflicts.

Though enough policy measures are put in place due to inadequate implementation, the causes of conflicts are not decreasing. Community involvement and participation of forest-dwelling people at the gram sabha level are a must for better coordination and results.

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