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Monday, November 5, 2012

'Man-animal conflict result of human actions alone'

Aparna Nair, TNN | Nov 5, 2012, 03.03AM IST NAGPUR: Human intervention, which has resulted in destruction of wildlife habitat, is responsible for the man-animal conflict. The need of the hour is to give more importance to sustainable development than economic development to conserve nature, said speakers at the one-day workshop on man-animal conflict organized by Society for Wildlife Conservation, Education and Research (Wild-CER). MS Reddy, field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF), Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) (Maharashtra) said human beings are responsible for all the man-animal conflicts. "It is a result of our past actions. Destruction of wildlife habitat and increasing human population are the main causes behind this problem," he said. Reddy added that time had come when sustainable development was given more importance than economic development. Agreeing with Reddy, Dr Bahar Baviskar of Wild - CER, said, "Now is the time for development with and for nature." The workshop covered various aspects of man - animal conflict including government policies for mitigating conflict, case studies and so on. Speaking on government policies, Sheshrao Patil, CCF, Nagpur, threw light on the conditions and requirements of granting compensation to people in case of crop damage, injury or death. Referring to absence of planned infrastructural projects, Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation said lack of understanding of landscape matrix was a huge cause for the conflict. "Why wait for an incident to recognize a conflict situation? Can't we study and plan our projects in a way which will help in conflict mitigation?" he said. Suggesting some remedies, Rithe said, "Awareness is the key, not only among locals but also policymakers. Consideration for wildlife while planning infrastructural projects and financial allocations for mitigation measures are needed to address the issue." Ajay Pilariseth, divisional forest officer (DFO), PTR recounted a number of experiences to clarify his stand that humans are responsible for the conflict. "It is only when the natural order is disturbed these wild animals are forced to come in contact with humans. Otherwise, they do everything in their capacity to avoid us. I have even seen sloth bears sacrifice jamun - their favourite fruit - in order to avoid humans who had entered the part of the forest where this fruit grows," he said. Pilariseth added that it was time man learnt how to live in and around forests. "In our greed for more, we only think about us and nothing else. We don't even consider about the right of these animals to live," he said.

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