The Maharashtra government has formed a study group to take an in-depth look at the man-tiger conflict in Chandrapur district.
The group will be headed by Chandrapur Chief Conservator of Forest N R Praveen and will comprise as members Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) Field Director Jitendra Ramgaonkar, Gondia Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Kulraj Singh, Wildlife Institute of India scientist Bilal Habib, retired Divisional Forest Officers Sanjay Thavre and Girish Vasisth, noted man-leopard conflict expert Vidya Athreya, Wildlife Conservation Trust president Anish Andheria, wildlife expert Sanjay Karkare, State Wildlife Board member Bandu Dhotre and tribal activist Paromita Giswami.
“The group will delineate reasons for the conflict and suggest remedies… it will submit its report by December 31,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Board headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday. The issue had come up for discussion at the Board’s meeting a couple of months ago, when Thackeray had suggested formation of the study group.
Chandrapur has been witnessing intense man-tiger conflict since 2007. This year, the conflict has seen 25 deaths in the district. A ‘problem tiger’ from Rajura forest is currently posing a serious threat to human life and has attacked 11 persons, eight fatally, in the past 21 months.
A few months ago, Kakodkar himself had suggested translocation of 50 tigers from the district to other forest areas.
On Wednesday, the last day of the ongoing Wildlife Week celebration, officials and activists discussed the man-animal conflict issue.
“There were some suggestions in today’s deliberations on the problem, like avoiding power cuts during dark… massive door-to-door awareness drive, setting up of primary response teams in villages to act as a bridge between officials and villagers, and convergence of various departments like Revenue, Agriculture, Energy etc with the Forest Department in undertaking mitigation efforts,” Kakodkar told The Indian Express.
He added, “Officials are of the opinion that the department has already been doing some good work, which has resulted in conflict levels remaining flat over the past decade despite huge increase in the number of tigers.”
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