At least 260 people have been killed and 10,955 injured in man-animal conflicts during the last five years in Madhya Pradesh, making it a serious cause of concern for the state forest officials.
Besides, 22 tigers, leopards, bears, wild boars, jackals and other carnivores have been killed by humans during the same period.
According to the forest department data, 51 people were killed by wild animals in 2011-12, 48 each in 2012-13 and 2013-14; 61 in 2014-15 and 52 in 2015-16.
Likewise, 3,181 people were injured in 2011-12, 2,906 in 2012-13, 2,092 in 2013-14, 1,334 in 2014-15 and 1,442 in 2015-16, the data reveals. 25,344 cattle was also killed in the past five years.
A minor girl was mauled to death by a tiger in Bagda forest range of Hoshangabad district on November 19.
Wildlife activist Ajay Dubey blamed the depleting forest cover in MP and encroachment in forest areas for rise in incidents of man-animal conflicts.
The forest officials also said encroachments in forest areas was a disturbing trend.
With reports of tigers sneaking into human settlements and killing cattle around the state capital being received at regular intervals, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Jitendra Agrawal said, “It is because the settlements have come up just close to the forest areas.”
“Sometimes, these tigers sneak out of their habitat in search of prey. The area which acts like a buffer and divides the human and animal habitat is shrinking around Bhopal,” Agrawal added. “We have placed four cameras around Bhopal and are maintaining a strict vigil day in and day out to avoid man-animal conflict.”
Agrawal said presence of 10 wild tigers, including cubs, was reported from the Bhopal forest division recently.