Monday, December 31, 2007

Man-animal conflict

Man-animal conflict

Statesman News Service

KOLKATA, Dec. 28: Several wildlife conservationists and environmental activists expressed their concern on issues relating to global warming and protecting mangrove swamps.

Preservation of the Sunderbans' eco-system is imperative for preservation of the tiger. Speaking at the seminar on "Climate Change, The Royal Bengal Tiger and The Sunderbans: Quo Vadis West Bengal?" yesterday evening, Mr Bittu Sahgal, wildlife conservationist, said: "Over the last 10 years, there has been a massive decline in the country's tiger population. Poaching, coupled with the loss of habitat has resulted in the decline.

Matters have worsened with global warming and climate change."

Mr Sahgal added that the number of tigers in the country has come down by almost 70 per cent in the last 10 years.

He claimed that while the government said there were about 1,500 tigers in the country, the actual number stands at 1,200.

He, however, admitted that the man-animal conflict was low in case of tiger reserves because of Project Tiger.

The project identified core areas and prevented villagers from entering these areas. This resulted in less or no interference of human beings in the natural habitats of the tiger, he said.

The man-animal conflict is on the increase over the past few months, with leopards straying into townships. Mr Sahgal said: "Leopards enter villages or towns in search of dogs. When confronted by human beings, they attack them, too." He, however, admitted that this man-animal conflict was low in case of tiger reserves because of Project Tiger.

"From 50 to 60 incidents of tigers attacking human beings and straying into towns and villages almost 10 years back, the number has come down to eight or 10," Mr Sahgal said.

For The Tiger

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