If the numbers, that have been released by the Government, are to be believed, then there have been scores of incidents related to the man-animal conflict that happened over the last 3 years and shockingly, nearly 1500 people have lost their lives across India. The number is surprising and accounts for 500 deaths per year which not only calls for immediate measures, but also some sort of introspection on the fact that why has there been a steep increase in the number of such incidents and what are the policy changes that need to be undertaken to address the issue.
While such cases are reported in various other parts of the country, Kashmir, at the same time, does not seem to be an exception. On and off such incidents are reported and precious human lives are lost, but what cannot be denied is that humans have turned out to be encroachers of the places that belong to the wild animals. In the name of development, human footfall has been increasing in the fragile areas which are home to these animals that live up and away from the humans, deep in the forests. Their homes have been destroyed, trampled over, and dismantled, leaving them with no option but to descend and encounter the human population.
The dense forests and fragile environs are what makes a beautiful home for the wild animals, which have been created by God in such a manner that they do not like human intervention and flourish all on their own. The conflict arises when there is an intrusion, which we humans, especially in Kashmir, have been doing without any control and has been going on for a while. The increase in such cases has got the only reason and that is the ever-increasing human activities of varied nature—showcasing the insatiable greed of humans who want to have it all for themselves from the land to the skies.
The need of the hour is to introspect, leave behind the greed and ensure that the territory of the wild animals is respected and protected because if that is not done, even if the humans are way more powerful than wild animals, the impact which it is going to leave will be powerful with far-reaching consequences. The policymakers also need to wake up from deep slumber and ensure that these fragile zones are protected at all costs; making sure that there is no human activity within a particular radius and coming down heavily on the violators. The authorities now need to have zero tolerance on such matters because we need to protect the homes of wild animals for our safety. We won’t be doing them any favor—they own it as we do.