Jammu & Kashmir

Escalating human-wildlife conflicts in Kashmir pose threat to lives, livelihoods

Himalayan bear.

From tragic incidents to financial toll, recent data reveals alarming statistics

Ganderbal: From 2006 to 2022, the Kashmir region has witnessed a significant toll in human-wildlife conflicts, resulting in the loss of 234 lives and injuries to 2918 people. Authorities addressed 1051 cases during this period.

Recent data, highlights the tragic incidents of 2022, particularly fatal leopard attacks in the Uri and Boniyar areas of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, leading to the loss of young lives. The conflict escalated in Boniyar, resulting in the identification and elimination of the responsible leopard.

Incidents involving a black bear in Ahalangadole, Kokernag, and another leopard in Gopalpora, Anantnag in south Kashmir have also heightened concerns. Rajpora, Zachaldara and Handwara witnessed other tragic incidents, emphasising the urgent need for action.

Examining the conflict diary from April 1, 2022, to July 1, 2022, the North Division reported 479 incidents with 3 deaths, 2 injuries, 20 animals trapped, and 56 lakhs in compensation.

The South Division documented 124 incidents, 2 deaths, 8 injuries, 14 animals trapped, and 9.5 lakhs in compensation. Shopian Division reported 168 incidents with no deaths, 3 injuries, 5 animals trapped, and 12.15 lakhs in compensation.

The Central Division recorded 34 incidents with no deaths, 2 injuries, 15 animals trapped, and 4 lakhs in compensation. In the Wetlands Division, 90 incidents resulted in no deaths, 2 injuries, 1 animal trapped, and 1 lakh in compensation.

The cumulative impact of 895 incidents during this period, resulting in 5 deaths and 17 injuries, calls for comprehensive measures to address escalating human-wildlife conflicts, according to the data.

Authorities face a delicate challenge in balancing conservation efforts with ensuring the safety of the local population.

The struggle between humans and wild animals continues, as indicated by the latest Ex-Gratia/Compensation report for November 2023.

As of March 31, 2023, 136 cases were reported, revealing the grim reality of the Man-Wild Animal Conflict. Out of these, 51 cases have been settled in the current year, leaving a concerning backlog of 60 pending cases.

The financial toll is evident, with a total compensation requirement of Rs 71.35 lakh. The breakdown reveals a harrowing picture Rs 109.85 lakh for injuries and Rs 40.10 lakh for deaths, resulting in a staggering total of Rs 149.95 lakh.

Breaking down the data further, specific regions within Kashmir faced varying degrees of impact. The Central region, covering the period from October 2022 to October 2023, reported 8 injuries and 2 deaths, requiring a compensation of Rs 11.90 lakh, with an additional Rs 6 lakh settled for 21 injuries, including 3 review cases.

In the current year 2023-24, North Shopian witnessed 60 injuries and 8 deaths, demanding a compensation of Rs 38.30 lakh. Notably, Rs 11.90 lakh + Rs 6 lakh have already been disbursed for 21 injuries, encompassing 3 review cases.

The Wetlands region reported 6 injuries and a staggering 98 deaths, necessitating a compensation of Rs 109.85 lakh. The gravity of the situation is underscored by the fact that 10 death cases have been partially settled, with Rs 2 lakh disbursed in accordance with court orders. However, Rs 1 lakh remains pending, awaiting necessary documentation. (KNO)

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