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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

Forest department works on strategies to mitigate conflict during Kumbh 2021

Officials said that hotspots of human-animal conflict have been identified and those areas are being geo-tagged.

dehradun Updated: Nov 18, 2019 05:44 IST
Suparna Roy
Suparna Roy
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar.
Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar.(HT Photo)

Gearing up for Kumbh fair 2021, the Uttarakhand forest department is working on a detailed strategy to ensure that wild animals from Rajaji landscape do not attack pilgrims in Haridwar. Officials said that hotspots of human-animal conflict have been identified and those areas are being geo-tagged.

Akash Verma, divisional forest officer of Haridwar said, “Various proposals regarding mitigation of man-animal conflict in the region, with the backdrop of Mahakumbh 2021, have been submitted to higher authorities. We have given suggestions like formation of primary response teams, village level teams, special rapid response teams, snake response team and many others.”

The official said that after studying conflict incidents of different species, especially crocodiles and snakes apart from leopard and elephant, hotspots have been identified by the forest department.

“Places where conflict incidents are most frequent have been identified, geo-tagged and we have prepared a map with incidents spanning over the last two years. Geo-tagging gives us an indication of how frequently a conflict situation is arising in a given area. If from a particular area seven animals are rescued over six months compared to another area where three animals have been rescued, then the probability of a conflict situation arising is higher in the latter area,” added Verma.

With documenting details of the conflict cases, the department is trying to understand the pattern of attacks which will help them plan mitigation strategies better.

A recent data shared by the field director of Rajaji Tiger Reserve, a hotspot of human-leopard conflict in the state, mentioned that 23 human deaths were reported from the reserve over the last five years.

The DFO Haridwar also said that snakes are another major problem in the area, especially in the river bank areas of Har-ki-Pauri and Haridwar city.

“A dedicated team for snakes has been suggested by us and special proposal have been made and hotspots with regard to the species have also been designed,” added Verma.

Official records show that in October this year, 189 wildlife rescues were made from the Haridwar forest division, of which over 100 rescues were of snakes including 10 cobras and nine crocodiles.