Between 2014-15 and 2018-19, 2,361 humans were killed as a result of conflict with elephants, while 510 elephants were killed in incidents of electrocution, train accidents, poaching and poisoning during the same period.
Additionally, conflict with tigers caused 275 human deaths between 2014 and 2019, according to data tabled in Parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in response to a question.
West Bengal had the highest number of human deaths caused by elephants and tigers during these periods — 403 died due to conflict with elephants, and 74 due to tigers. West Bengal is followed by Odisha in the number of human deaths caused by elephants (397) and by Maharashtra in the number of deaths caused by tigers (74).
Among elephant deaths caused in conflict with humans, electrocution is the primary cause, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the deaths (333 out of 510).
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The Forest Ministry told Rajya Sabha that the management of forest and wildlife primarily the responsibility of the concerned state governments/UT administration. “The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 empowers the State Chief Wildlife Warden for taking appropriate measures for management of human wildlife conflict situations. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued advisories dated 24th December 2014 and 1st June 2015, in context of human wildlife conflicts to all the States /UT’s, wherein they have been requested to take proactive steps including exercise of powers under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, for mitigation of human wildlife conflict,” it said.
The Ministry said it provides financial assistance to states/UTs under the centrally sponsored schemes for development of wildlife habitats, Project Tiger and Project Elephant, which includes compensation for depredation by wild animals — such as crop damage, or loss of life and property.
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