“The development of infrastructures in conflict with the conservation of wildlife”

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Linear infrastructure developments conflicted with wildlife conservation goals in many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, an expert said here today.

As many as 72 of the 88 elephant corridors documented are crossed by national highways or other major roads and seven have railway lines, said VB Mathur, director of the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

Elephant victims

More than 200 elephants have been killed in the country since 1987 by trains passing through forests, he said during a two-day workshop on elephant conservation in southern Indian states jointly organized by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Kerala Forestry Department.

Of the 50 protected areas (PAs) declared tiger reserves in the country, the main roads cross 26, he said.

“In many of India’s national parks, wildlife and tiger reserves, linear infrastructure developments in the form of roads, railways, power lines and canals conflict with wildlife conservation goals. ”, Said Mathur.

Each year, 30 to 50 cases of ivory tusk poaching, 40 to 70 cases of electrocution and 20 to 30 cases of elephant poisoning are reported across the country, he said.

Detailing the reasons for human-elephant conflicts, he stated the loss, degradation and fragmentation of giant habitat, blocking of corridors, illegal harvesting, enclaves in forests, labor settlements in plantation corridors. tea / coffee, trespassing, pilgrim movement, etc. would contribute to the threat.

“Reproduction control”

Stressing the need to initiate research on the “control of reproduction” of the elephant population, the official said that elephant conservation programs in the future should focus on improving the quality of life. animals rather than increasing their numbers.

“Smart and green infrastructure promotes both smart growth and smart conservation,” he added.

Mr. S. Negi, deputy director general of forests, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the growing population of animals in forests could be one of the reasons for frequent human-animal conflicts.

Opening the workshop, Kerala Forestry Minister K Raju said the state, which has four identified giant corridors and reserves, conducts elephant population estimation at regular intervals.


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