After an increasing number of incidents of conflicts between humans and Gaurs in the Western Ghats, the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Maharashtra came up with a Stand Operating Procedure for handling these situations in 2015, following deliberations of a committee formed for this purpose.
The SOP document includes various reasons for human-Gaur conflict and also suggests actions to be taken in these situations by various stakeholders including local residents, civic bodies, and joint forest management committees, before Forest department officials and police reach the spot.
The SOP document has very clear instructions on crowd control, precautions to be taken by media personnel and ensuring that social media messages do not lead to panic.
The SOP also has step-by-step instructions on tranquilising, loading and transport of heavy animal which can weigh between 600 to 1,000 kg. One entire section of the SOP document is dedicated to steps to avoid any human casualties in man animal-conflict situations. Forest officials said that in Wednesday’s incident, while there were no casualties to people, there were many incidents which could have potentially resulted in serious injuries or worse.
The Gaur, also known as Indian Bison, is mainly found in South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as ‘vulnerable’ since 1986 on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature
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