Srinagar, Dec 24: While the Department of Wildlife Protection has been trying to reduce the Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC), nine persons lost their lives and over 51 were injured in the conflict across Kashmir since March 2023.
Official data available with Greater Kashmir reveals that nine persons died and 51 were injured in HWC during the 10 months of 2023.
In central Kashmir, which includes Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts, seven persons were injured after being attacked by wild animals.
In north Kashmir which saw major incidents of HWC, seven persons died and 27 were injured.
Similarly, in the Shopian district of south Kashmir, at least 12 persons were injured in the attacks by wild animals but no death was reported.
Interestingly, one person was injured in the HWC within a wetland, the official figures revealed.
Official figures prove that the number of Injuries and deaths was low compared to the previous year 2022-23. In 2022-23, as per the officials, the Department of Wildlife provided a compensation of Rs 53.60 lakh to the victims of wild animal attacks.
An amount of Rs 13.50 lakh was paid to the kin of the persons dead in wild animal attacks while Rs 40.10 lakh has been disbursed among the injured.
Official sources said that at least 83 animals were rescued by the Wildlife Department in central Kashmir.
“In central Kashmir, we rescued about 83 animals which include 18 black bears, five black bear cubs, two leopards, a leopard cub, four monkeys, 43 snakes, and 10 other animal species,” the DFO Wildlife Central Division Altaf Ahmed said.
“Wild animals easily get attracted to easy availability of food near forests. We appeal to people living near forests and karewas to avoid such activities which attract wild animals,” Regional Wildlife Warden Rashid Naqash said.
He said that the number of bears and leopards had grown significantly in the last few years.
“Because there is ample and safe space for them to breed, their population has multiplied hugely. It is an unnatural growth,” he said.
Officials said bad trash management and unchecked dog population — considered favourite food for wild cats — is linked to increasing leopard attacks in cities and towns.
Moreover, significant poultry and sheep rearing units near households lure the wild animals. Meanwhile, the Department of Wildlife Protection has issued an advisory for the people to avoid such Human-Wildlife Conflict besides sharing their numbers in case of any sighting of wild animals.
Meanwhile, amid the rising number of incidents of HWC, the Department of Wildlife Protection has already issued an advisory for people to avoid such conflicts besides sharing their numbers in case of any sighting of wild animals. The advisory issued by the Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, said that people should not move alone, especially during the early and late hours.
Children and women should be more careful and must move in groups. “The people should avoid going to the nearby forest area in the early morning and evening hours which is the peak time for leopards to move,” the advisory said.
It also cautioned the people not to chase or try to go near the leopard if sighted from a distance.
“It has been observed that whenever a leopard is sighted, people make a lot of noise which can prove dangerous. As such the wild animal feels insecure and may attack,” the advisory reads. It said that the cattle shed in the houses should be constructed strong enough, using wooden material or concrete.
“Livestock, poultry, and pets should be attended by three to four persons. Any type of bell or sound-producing device should be put around the neck of the cattle. They should also be kept in safe sheds before the onset of dusk. In case any leopard is seen, the people should be informed immediately by the Forest Department, Wildlife Protection Department and the Forest Protection Force as per the given number which Wildlife Protection Department has issued already,” the advisory said.