State to SC: Trying to create smooth animal corridors

State to SC: Trying to create smooth animal corridors

An elephant crossing the road.

The state government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that its forest department was trying all possibilities to establish smooth corridors for the free movement of wild animals, particularly elephants, to avoid man-animal conflict.

The government said, in 2016, it had issued orders for purchase of private lands falling in the corridors, by entrepreneurs seeking diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes. “In association with Wildlife Trust of India, a few parcels of private lands were purchased so that elephant corridors are free from human activities,” it said.

In spite of the continuous process of establishing barricades between human habitation and forests and bringing about awareness among the people living close to the forests through campaigns and social media, on an average 50 people were killed by wild animals every year. Out of these, 75% is by wild elephants, it said. On Tuesday, advocate Anitha Shenoy, representing the government, submitted before a three-judge bench presided over by Justice Madan B Lokur, that the forest department was not continuing with the use of spikes to drive away wild elephants. The court allowed the government to file its affidavit in the PIL filed by conservationist Prerna Singh Bindra and others for checking elephant deaths and curbing human-animal conflict.

“The conflict is on the rise over the years. Unless it is mitigated, there will be loss of human lives and animals. This is resulting in law and order situation in high-conflict zones. If the situation is not contained, human-animal conflict may escalate the law and order situation,” the government said.

The government said the forest department had initiated action in drafting rules for establishing private conservancies falling in the corridors, with an intention to enlarge the animal corridors. “The matter is under public consultation process. The intention of the department is not to establish any barricades across corridors, but only along the forest boundaries to mitigate man-animal conflict,” it said.

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