German funds to power fight against animal attacks in Uttarakhand
The ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), in collaboration with Germany, will frame guidelines and species-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to mitigate human-animal conflicts at the national level, with focus on Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.Updated: Feb 06, 2018 21:12 IST
The ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), in collaboration with Germany, will frame guidelines and species-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to mitigate human-animal conflicts at the national level, with focus on Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
Representatives from GIZ -- the implementing agency of the Indo-German project – and MoEFCC officers discussed conflicts in the three states in New Delhi on Monday. Officials from the states, scientific institutions, NGOs and experts participated in the meeting.
Neeraj Khera, a representative of GIZ, said, “The project is divided into three components: the MoEFCC and selected states will frame guidelines for human-wildlife conflict mitigation; project will support pilot testing of selected mitigation instruments in the three partner states, and will facilitate capacity development of key stakeholders.”
The 4 million euro (Rs 31 crore) technical cooperation project is funded by the German ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ).
In the first step, guidelines will be framed and they will include species-specific SOPs for animals like elephants, wild boars, blue bulls (nilgai) and leopards, among others, officials familiar with the project said.
A database on casualties and injuries in the states will be generated to support solutions. The statistics will be uploaded on a web portal, which will be helpful in addressing conflicts in other states, the officials said.
The MoEFCC issued guidelines in 2011 to tackle leopard menace, but the conflicts continued to soar in states like Uttarakhand. The guidelines include awareness and involvement of people, teamwork in tackling conflicts, emergency response to help locals protect livestock, collection of information on conflicts, and dealing with man-eaters.
Despite the framework, leopard attacks continued in the hill state. The big cats have killed over 600 people in the last 17 years -- 50 per year on an average -- and injured over 3000. The conflict rate is the highest in the country, claim activists.
Researches done by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) show that leopards in Uttarakhand are man-eaters as compared to Bengal where encounters are incidental.
In a reply in the Rajya Sabha on February 7 last year, then union forest minister Anil Madhav Dave had listed steps, such as construction of physical barriers, ex-gratia payment to victims and improvement of wildlife habitat, as mitigation measures. But conflicts could not be contained.
The new measures will take into account current models of mitigation, apart from those adopted by foreign countries. Teams comprising German representatives and MoEFCC officials will visit the three identified states, officials said.