Karnataka among pilot states for studying man-animal conflict

Karnataka has been identified as a pilot state for carrying out scientific experiments of population control measures on wild animals, which are in conflict with humans.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has given in principle approval for carrying out the scientific studies in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and West Bengal where human-wildlife conflict is prevalent. In Karnataka, two species have been identified for these studies - elephants and wild boars. The ‘Human-wildlife conflict mitigation in India’ project is being carried out in collaboration with the German government, which will be extending its technical expertise as well as financial assistance.

A mission team comprising three wildlife experts, which visited these states in the second week of August, has submitted a report to the Ministry stating that the studies are feasible.  Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, which will act as the knowledge partner, will identify scientific institutions and experts to carry out the studies. The ministry, which has come under criticism for approving culling of wild animals such as nilgai and wild boar in Bihar and rhesus monkey in Himachal Pradesh by declaring them ‘vermin’, is now exploring other mitigative measures, which do not have ethical concerns. Elephant conservation expert Ajay Desai, who was part of the mission team said that immunocontraception will be explored as a measure to control population of elephants and primates. While “outside” knowledge will be sought to address the growing nilgai population, culling of wild boars will be “reviewed,” he said.Till date, immunocontraception in animals has been tested only in controlled conditions. He said that this method is bound to pose a challenge in case of wild animals.

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