Man Wildlife Conflict

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The southern state of Karnataka has got some of the most pristine forests in Western Ghats spanning the districts of North Kanara, Dharwad, Belgaum, Shimoga, Udupi, Mangalore, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Madikeri, Mysore and Chamrajnagar. The forests in these districts are quite rich in wild life as can be expected, the most notable wildlife in these forests being Elephants, Tigers, Leopards among other animals. In the drier tracts of these and other districts where the topography is mostly plains with scattered rocky outcrops of hills the wildlife consists of Bear, Black bucks and Leopards. Out of all these I have had experience of working as a Forest Officer in North Kanara, Shimoga, Mangalore (including the present Udupi district), Bidar, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts. Almost everywhere the story about the Man & Wildlife conflict remains the same, albeit I can speak authoritatively about the districts of Bidar and Chikmagalur where I served as Territorial DyCF. Throughout the state , as in the whole country, story remains the same , only the players change. The difference is only in the extent of damages and the number of lives lost.

The problem of Man – Elephant conflict is more severe in the districts of Hassan and Madikeri where large herds of elephants can be seen roaming and marauding the farms especially in or near the forest areas damaging the valuable agricultural crops. At times there have been loss of human lives which only accentuates the problem taking this conflict to an entirely new level. Naturally people can tolerate the loss of agricultural crops but not the loss of their family members. But then who is responsible for all this? It is we who have intruded into their territory, converting the forests into agricultural farms, growing crops and inviting the elephants to our doorsteps to come and have their stomach fill. Its we who have fragmented their habitat by making roads, dams and canals. We have honeycombed their habitat by our so called...
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