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NGT ON STRENGTHENING ELEPHANT CORRIDORS

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Odisha government to prepare an action plan on 14 identified elephant corridors for providing stress-free migration to jumbos from one habitation to another in the State.

Details

  • The Odisha State government had proposed 14 corridors, however, despite the passing of several years, no tangible progress had been made on government’s proposal.
  • NGT’s intervention for necessary legal action against encroachers and those violating the Provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980 and the Indian Forest Act 1927in the proposed corridors, was sought by an NGO.

Steps Taken by the NGT

  • The government was urged to remove the unauthorised buildings from the reserve forest land in Dhenkanal district, which sees acute human-elephant conflict, and make the forestland free from encroachment.
  • The NGT had issued a prohibition order directing that all such activities which are not permissible to be carried out in such a highly eco sensitive zone (ESZ), should not be undertaken.
  • NGT directed authorities to expedite demarcation of the corridors and the process for formal notification within a specific time frame in 2017.

Human-Elephant Conflicts

  • Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.
  • Such encounters foster resentment against the elephants amongst the human population and this can result in elephants being viewed as a nuisance and killed.
  • In addition to the direct conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants also suffer indirect costs like degradation of habitat and loss of food plants.

What is Man-animal conflict?

  • Man-animal conflict refers to the interaction between wild animals and humans which results in a negative impact on people, animals, resources, and habitats.
  • It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory which creates competition for space and resources.
  • Conflicts between the man and animal have occurred since the dawn of humanity. However, it has come to light ever more frequently in recent times.

Causes of Man-animal conflict

  • In modern times rapid urbanization and industrialisation have led to the diversion of forest land to non-forest purposes, as a result, the wildlife habitat is shrinking.
  • The expansion of road and rail network through forest ranges has resulted in animals getting killed or injured in accidents on roads or railway tracks.
  • The increasing population has also led to many human settlements coming up near the peripheries of protected areas and encroachment in the forest lands by local people for cultivation and collection of food and fodder etc. therefore increasing pressure on limited natural resources in the forests.

Way Forwards to prevent Man – Animal Conflicts

  • Surveillance- Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors can help in tracking the movement of animals and warn the local population.
  • Improvement of habitat- In-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival.
  • Re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
  • Awareness Programmes- To create awareness among people and sensitize them about the Do’s and Don’ts in the forest areas to minimize the conflicts between man and animal.
  • Training programs- Training to the police offices and local people should be provided for this purpose forest department should frame guidelines.
  • Boundary walls- The construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks.
  • Technical and financial support- For the development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation.
  • Part of CSR- Safeguarding Tiger corridors, building eco-bridges and such conservation measures can be part of corporate social responsibility.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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