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Deaths due to animal attacks rise in TN

R Sathyanarayana, March 03, 2015, Chennai, DHNS: 2:21 IST
The photograph of the tiger that was shot dead in February for mauling a woman to death near Gudalur in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu.
The increase in the number of elephants, tigers and leopards in Tamil Nadu may be reason for animal activists to cheer, but the alarming rise in human deaths due to incidents of man-animal conflict has left the state government worried.

Five people died in a span of two months die to animals entering human settlements. Since January, two died in a leopard attack in the Erode area, two men were crushed by a heard of elephants in Coimbatore and a woman was mauled to death by a tiger in Nilgiris district.

Shrinking green cover, unabated encroachment of forest fringe areas and truant monsoons have led to growing human-animal clashes in Tamil Nadu. Forest Department sources said that during the past year, at least 47 people in the state died and, now, this figure has already crossed 50.

Wild elephants accounted for the maximum number of human casualties followed by leopards and then tigers. Recently, local people in forest areas had put pressure on officials to kill tigers and leopards that stray into their settlements. In February, the Forest Task Force had to shoot dead the tiger which killed the woman in Nilgiris. The state government has increased the compensation for death or permanent disability caused due to an animal attack from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. It has paid more than Rs 3 crore in compensation over the last two years.

People living in forest areas of Hosur, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Gudalur, Sathyamangalam, Kodaikanal, Dindugul, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Theni, Srivilliputtur, Tirunelveli, Anaimalai Tiger sanctuary, Udumalpet and Pollachi have been living in fear due to the movement of wild animals. Tamil Nadu accounts for nearly one sixth of about 24,000 elephants in India. “Of them, between 700 and 1,000 elephants stray into human habitats regularly.

This increases the human-animal conflict in the villages located nearby forest areas,” a senior forest official said, adding that there are 230 tigers and 100 leopards in the state.

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