Kerala govt blames spurt in animal population for man-wildlife conflicts in high ranges

The minister noted that the state government had come up with a project with short and long-term measures to prevent man-animal conflicts.

ByPTI

Published Jan 31, 2024 | 12:53 PMUpdatedJan 31, 2024 | 12:53 PM

Kerala Forest Minister AK Saseendran

The Kerala government on Tuesday, 30 January, said in the Assembly that there has been an increase in the wild animal population in the high-range areas of the state and it was one of the reasons for the man-animal conflicts in those places.

The government said that it has adopted various measures to prevent man-animal conflicts in the high-range areas of the state, especially the Wayanad district which has witnessed an increase in instances of wild animals entering inhabited areas.

State Forest Minister AK Saseendran said that the government was taking serious note of the problems faced by the people of the high-range areas, but has not been able to come up with a permanent solution as of yet.

“There has been an increase in the wild animal population in the region and just like humans, they too have been affected by the climatic changes,” the minister said.

He noted that the state government had come up with a project with short and long-term measures that could be adopted to prevent man-animal conflicts in the area.

However, when the ₹620 crore worth project was sent to the Centre for approval, the central government said it could not be approved presently, the minister claimed.

“Despite that, the state, within its own limits, has taken measures to address the problem,” he said in response to CPI(M) MLA OR Kelu calling his attention to the increasing instances of wild animal attacks in the high-range areas of the state, especially in Wayanad.

Unlike earlier times, forest officials are very vigilant in the area and when any incident of wild animals entering inhabited areas occurs, they try their very best to resolve the situation.

Also Read: ‘Man-eater’ of Wayanad captured alive, tension rises as residents want the tiger killed

Measures being taken

Some of the measures being considered by the Forest Department to prevent animals from entering populated areas include setting up of solar fencing, Saseendran said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has approved a ₹220 lakh preventive package for Wayanad.

Besides that, in the last two years, over 4,000 wild boars were exterminated under the direction of the panchayat or the state government and around 10 tigers and one elephant were captured from the area, he added.

The other measures included putting up over a thousand kilometres of various kinds of fencing.

Some of those families affected by wild animal attacks were rehabilitated or financially compensated.

Last week, a male tiger suspected of having attacked and killed many domestic animals was found trapped in a cage set up in the Beenachi Estate in Wayanad.

Prior to that, in December last year, a male tiger had attacked and partially eaten a man near a forest area in Kalpetta, Wayanad.

The tiger was later tranquilised and transported to a quarantine centre at the Puthur Zoological Park in Thrissur.

Apart from frequent instances of elephants straying into plantations and agricultural land and destroying crops, a bear was on the loose in the northern part of the district for a few days creating panic among the locals.

Also Read: Conflict zone: Wayanad residents bay for ‘maneater’ tiger’s blood

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