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Human-Animal Conflict Committee expresses concern over human deaths in tiger attacks

The committee chaired by Forest and Environment Minister Allola Indira Reddy today held its first meeting to reduce human-animal conflict in Telangana state. The meeting was attended by 10 members who reviewed the ongoing human-wildlife events in the state. The Human-Animal Conflict Committee has made several suggestions to reduce human deaths in tiger attacks.

The mandate for the committee was to recommend measures to avoid recurrence of human deaths due to Tiger attack, to evolve a mechanism for human wildlife conflict and to propose revision of rates of payment of compensation to victims of wild animal attacks. The committee was requested to submit its recommendation to the Government at the earliest, but not later than 3 months.

The Committee discussed the reasons behind wild animals straying into human dominated landscape and identified factors responsible like habitat loss, degradation, fragmentation, cattle grazing and human induced pressures which have greatly reduced wildlife habitat and availability of resources like food and water, leading to increase in incidents of human wildlife conflict.

The Committee also discussed measures to be taken expeditiously to address the issue to control and reduce man animal conflicts, which include restoration and enrichment of wildlife habitat, ensuring water availability all through the year, regulate collection of minor forest produce, introduce rotational grazing by opening certain areas for grazing once in 3 years, prevent and control forest fires, strengthen protection and take up Anti-Poaching activities.

The Committee discussed about the rates of payment of compensation prevailing in the state to the victims of wild animal attack in cases like human death, human injury, cattle kill and crop loss. The committee was apprised about rates of compensation being paid in other Southern States and in Maharashtra and how these compare with the rates prevailing in Telangana State.

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The committee noted that these rates have not been revised for 7 years since the formation of the State and agreed that, these rates need revision.  The Members were requested to go through the comparative rates of other States and propose revision of rates to be made applicable to Telangana State which will be discussed and finalized in the next meeting. The Committee also discussed the guidelines to be framed for payment of compensation for each category of conflict.

Ms. R. Shobha Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Warden updated the committee on the steps taken by the Forest Department to address the issue of damage to agriculture / horticulture crops by Wild Pigs, Monkeys, and Black Buck etc. The Members were informed about the Government order issued recently appointing GP Sarpanches as Honorary Wildlife Warden and delegation of powers by the Chief Wildlife Warden to the GP Sarpanches to permit culling of Wild Pigs damaging agriculture crops.

The Members were informed that, the entire culling process and disposal of carcasses is as per the provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. As regards Monkey Menace, the Chief Wildlife Warden explained that, the Monkey Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre established at Chincholi near Nirmal is functional and the Monkeys captured by the local bodies like Gram Panchayat, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations are brought to this center for sterilization and release back into the wild.

The Committee was informed about the measures taken by the Forest Officials in Kawal Tiger Reserve and Corridor area to deal with Tigers entering human dominated landscape. The Tiger which had killed 2 human beings in November, 2020 is being monitored in Forest areas of KB, Asifabad District which is a corridor linking Kawal Tiger Reserve to Tiger bearing areas of Maharashtra State. It was informed that, 144 camera traps have been set up and more than 40 animal trackers have been deployed to monitor the movement of the Tiger on day to day basis. In both the incidents of human death, the family of the victims have been paid Rs.5.00 lakh each as compensation and one member from the family has been given employment on outsourcing basis to support the families.

After detailed discussion on all the issues listed for the meeting, the committee resolved that, each member will give his opinion and recommendation to the Chief Wildlife Warden which will then be placed before the next meeting of the committee for deliberation and finalization of the recommendations for submitting report to Government within the time frame given.

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