Friday, March 16, 2012

India provides relief to victims of wildlife: Data needed

The minister Jayanti Natarajan’s statement in Rajya Sabha on 13 March that incidents of damage to crops and human lives by wild animals like elephant, leopard, wild boar, blue bull, monkey, etc. are reported from States/Union Territories of the country including Himachal Pradesh, but that no details of such State/Union Territory-wise incidences are available in the Ministry of Environment & Forest Government of India, needs to be noted.

For conservation of nature, the wild life and overall biodiversity, and to make conservation human and animal friendly, it is essential that species’confrontations with man and his basic needs, is given a serious attention. Collection of basic data on this aspect is very essential, and with the given e-networking and available and growing infrastructure it should not be a problem to collate and report at some levels.

She also stated that payment of compensation to victims of confrontations with wild animals is the responsibility of the concerned State/Union Territory Governments. The State-wise details of payment of such compensation are also not collated in the Ministry.

However the minister mentioned that subject to availability of budget, the Central Government supplements/provides financial assistance to the State/Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of “Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats”, “Project Elephant” and “Project Tiger” to make ex-gratia relief to the victims of such incidents of damage to crops and human lives by the wild animals.

The conservation organizations and NGOs may take cue from this shortcoming on a very important need, and may consider study projects on the need to collect and collate baseline data to help formulate future conservation strategies including suitable education in potential areas on man-animal conflicts.

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