Human-gaur conflict incidents are on the rise in western Maharashtra - Hindustan Times
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Human-gaur conflict incidents are on the rise in western Maharashtra

ByGayatri Vajpeyee
Jun 18, 2023 12:38 AM IST

Human-Indian gaur conflict incidents are on the rise in western Maharashtra due to habitat encroachment and infrastructure development. At least 13 Indian Gaur RESQ missions were undertaken in the last 2.5 years, posing a risk to both humans and gaurs. Wildlife experts suggest promoting awareness and understanding to foster peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife beyond protected forest areas.

Wildlife experts have highlighted that human-Indian gaur conflict incidents are on the rise in western Maharashtra. According to the data, there were at least 13 Indian Gaurs RESQ missions undertaken in the last 2.5 years by the forest department with the help of the RESQ charitable trust. Habitat encroachment has become a major reason for the rise in conflict, said the experts.

According to the data, there were at least 13 Indian Gaurs RESQ missions undertaken in the last 2.5 years by the forest department with the help of the RESQ charitable trust. (HT FILE PHOTO)
According to the data, there were at least 13 Indian Gaurs RESQ missions undertaken in the last 2.5 years by the forest department with the help of the RESQ charitable trust. (HT FILE PHOTO)

In the past decade, factors such as climate change, shifts in agricultural patterns, and rapid urbanisation have contributed to an increase in human-gaur interactions. These situations pose a risk due to the reduced space available for Gaurs and the consequent increase in the likelihood of encountering humans.

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Aditya Paranjape, a wildlife warden from Pune Forest Division said, “The gaur conflict incidences are on the rise due to habitat losses. In Pune, such incidents were mainly observed in Katraj, Warje and Bhor. Several infrastructure developments have caused disruption for the Indian gaur. Although there is no direct threat to humans, the gaur’s sighting near human habitats have risen.”

Tuhin Satarkar, director, Wildlife Management, RESQ Charitable Trust said, “A total of 13 rescue missions have been carried out and out of these, fiver took place in 2023, spanning different regions of western Maharashtra including Bhor, Pune, Solapur, Panvel, and Mahabaleshwar.Tackling a human-gaur conflict situation is a complex endeavour and we have a successful strategy in place that involve providing safe passages or enticing the animal into a vehicle for secure transport. As a result, we have been able to conduct smooth rescue operations, even in areas with a high human population.”

Satarkar added, “While leopards often require skilled tracking and identification techniques during rescues, gaur sightings and tracking are comparatively easier due to their conspicuous nature. However, the challenge lies in their status as ruminants, meaning animals with a complex stomach structure, which makes chemical immobilisation more difficult. Factors such as the gaur’s access to food and water, the risk of aspiration, and the sheer size of the animal pose obstacles to the decision of chemical immobilisation. Unlike leopards, which can sometimes be physically restrained, this option is generally not feasible for gaurs. Additionally, gaur rescues carry a higher probability of causing damage to human life and property.”

To establish harmonious balance

To achieve a harmonious balance between gaurs, wildlife in general, and humans, it is crucial to comprehend the factors contributing to the rise in human-gaur interactions. Furthermore, disseminating essential guidelines to local communities living near these animals is paramount. By promoting awareness and understanding, we can foster peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife beyond protected forest areas, said the experts.

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