Pilibhit district in north-western Uttar Pradesh plans to use a novel way to avoid man-animal conflicts, after two incidents of big cats attacking humans near the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve were reported in the past two months.
“We plan to develop a medicinal plant belt on the outskirts of the tiger reserve. Tigers and other animals have an aversion to medicinal plants and they will stay away from this belt,” said Pilibhit district magistrate (DM) Masoom Ali Sarvar.
The reserve, spread over 71,220 hectares, has 41 Asiatic tigers, which often come out of the forest in search of prey. “People have started farming in areas bordering the reserve. They keep cattle which are easy prey for tigers,” said the DM.
The administration will mark a 500-metre area along the tiger reserve boundary which will be converted into a medicinal plant zone. Farmers will be provided training and seeds of medicinal plants. “The land will remain theirs but we will only permit farming of medicinal plants in the region,” said the DM.