The man-animal conflicts are on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir. Every week or two, reports in newspapers and on social media platforms point out the toll taken by such conflicts. Although the incidences of trespasses by leopards and other wild animals in human habitations do not grab eyeballs, they signify an underlying problem which needs redress. The question is – how to control it so that more casualties do not occur.
Firstly, the concerned wildlife department needs to be serious about safeguarding the people. They should immediately respond to any information about the presence of any wild animal in a human habitation. The irresponsibility of the wildlife department came to the fore when a leopard mauled a four-year-old girl child at Ompora, which is just 12 km away from Srinagar City. The people in the area alleged that they have been complaining about the presence of leopards in their neighbourhood bushes since a long time, but the wildlife department turned deaf ears to their grievances. As a result of this negligence, an innocent girl lost her life.
The Ompora incident was not rare. In fact, over the past few years, many people and kids lost their lives or got critically injured in attacks by wild animals, including leopards and bears, in various areas of Jammu and Kashmir. This is a man-animal conflict in which humans are not the only losers. The wild animals have also gotten brutally lynched by the affected populace. Due to the frequent man-animal conflicts and human casualties, anger has mounted among people against the wild animals.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to adopt various techniques and take immediate measures to reduce the man-animal conflict. It should work seriously on resources, manpower and training of field staff to minimise these conflicts. The wildlife department should be equipped with the latest gadgets and manpower to tackle the menace which is taking a heavy toll on precious human lives. The wildlife department should introduce digital tagging of wild animals, which would preserve these species and surely help protect human lives that get consumed for lack of administrative attention.