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Wildlife board member suggests relocation of villagers to avoid human animal conflict

Wildlife Board member suggests relocation of 8 villages to protect elephants
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Wildlife Board member suggests relocation of 8 villages to protect elephants

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The regular incidents of human-animal conflicts have raised the question about the mitigation measures the forest department takes

Bengaluru: The regular incidents of human-animal conflicts have raised the question about the mitigation measures the forest department takes.

On the death of a 20-year-old female elephant outside Bisle Forest Near Sakleshpur in January, Karnataka State Wildlife Board member, Siddharth Goenka has written a letter to Chief Wildlife Warden Vijay Kumar seeking to know the mitigation measures being taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

"The circumstances of this particular incident must be investigated and the culprits must be brought to book. Karnataka accounts for 22% of the elephant population of our country and yet such incidents occur on a regular basis. This state has four important elephant corridors which have been defined repeatedly and yet such incidents are reported rather than prevented," the letter reads.

Goenka mentions that between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019, 2,361 persons were killed as a result of conflict with elephants, while 510 elephants were killed in incidents of electrocution, train accidents, poaching and poisoning.

"33% of the elephant deaths were due to illegal electrocution which shows deliberate, malicious intent. These deaths be it human or animal can be avoided by identifying and notifying elephant corridors as suggested by various government and non government bodies," he wrote in the letter to Vijay Kumar.

Basing his arguments on the report by the committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner in 2015, Goenka recommends the relocation of the villagers. There are eight villages in the (Sakleshpur taluk) region with a total population of 1084 and the land area is 15008.61 acres (11653.38 - government land and 3355.23 acres private land).

"The local population are victims of frequent animal, human conflict with the attendant loss of life and crops. The same committee also ascertained that for the above mentioned reasons 90% of the villagers have come forward and requested compensation and relocation as early as 2015 and a report to this effect has been submitted by the Deputy Commissioner. Additionally being a region with heavy rainfall and poor sunlight the options of Solar fencing and CPT/EPT have been excluded as feasible options. Given all the data available to us and the recent unfortunate incident I strongly feel and recommend that this relocation and compensation of the local villagers be taken up at once. The proposed financial requirement for this exercise has been given as Rs 272.78 crore by the revenue department," the letter says.

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