Shrinking space and shortage of food often forces wild animals towards populated areas. This friction results in the loss of life and property. The States have been compensating for the loss in terms of money but they now find it difficult to meet the rising demands for monetary relief.
This was obvious at the two-day conference of the State Forest Ministers held here earlier this week. State after State sought more funds from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for payment of compensation for raids by wild animals. No longer called the World Heritage Site in danger, the picturesque Manas National Park, home to many endangered species like the Royal Bengal Tigers , is still witnessing man-animal conflicts.
Environmentalists, who rejoiced over the Unesco’s recent decision to remove the famed park from the list of World Heritage Sites in danger, now express concern over the increasing conflict between man and animal. “Growing incidents of human-animal conflict have posed a serious threat to the animals in the Manas biosphere,” Dr Pranjit Basumatary, member of the Wild Trust of India, said.
The park had suffered ravages in the 90s during the height of insurgency by the then Bodo Security Force, later rechristened as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, and the ULFA, which had resulted in the loss of infrastructure and animals. The state-of-affairs had prompted the Unesco to declare the park as a World Heritage Site in danger.
But the subsequent restoration of peace and formation of the Bodoland Territorial Council led to the revival of the park and the World Heritage Committee noted that the universal value for which the property was inscribed on the heritage list was recovering from the damage suffered during the unrest.
Dr Basumatary said ever since the creation of a transit centre for rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, as many as 450 schedule one wildlife species have been rescued and nearly 80 per cent of them successfully rehabilitated.