SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Government’s intervention to reduce the raging man-animal conflict in the region has failed in its aims, despite the funds required having been put in place.
In the past decade, about 200 people have died and nearly 2,000 people been injured in human-animal conflict across Jammu and Kashmir. Government figures reveal that Kashmir has had more deaths, some 120, while Jammu has recorded just less than 80, in this period. Also, a far greater number have been injured in Kashmir than in Jammu, about 1500 in Kashmir compared to nearly 500 in Jammu.
As per the data, the highest casualties were recorded in 2011-12, about 32, while 365 were injured that year. In 2012-13, 16 deaths and 305 injuries were recorded. In 2013-14, 32 deaths and 369 injuries, in 2014-15, 14 deaths and 240 injuries, in 2015-16, 24 deaths and 280 injuries, in 2016-17, 22 deaths, 163 injuries, in 2017-18, 14 deaths, 166 injuries, in 2018-19, 13 deaths and 121 injuries, in 2019-20, 17 deaths and 156 injuries. Last year, in 2020-21, 10 people were killed while 141 injuries were reported.
These casualties happened despite the Government of India spending Rs 5 crore to take steps for preventing human losses under Development of Wildlife Habitats scheme. Among others, the government was supposed to restore habitat, natural water bodies, create artificial waterholes, augment food/fodder sources in Protected Areas, construct solar-powered electric fences, and bio fencing using cactus. Work on these has been started but results have not yet come. Though the deaths have been contained to some extent, the injuries have gone up, reveal the figures.
An official said that all these steps could have been taken better if there has been uninterrupted flow of funds, but there have been delays.
This year also, presence of omnivorous wild boars, a species not native to Kashmir but introduced in the 19th century as game, has been seen to be increasing in many areas of the valley, causing apprehensions about the safety of people. The concern has grown after a four-year-old girl was recently attacked and later killed by a wild animal in Budgam district.
A wildlife official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Kashmir Reader that on a daily basis people have been reporting the presence of wild boars near human habitations. As per rough estimates, there are some 200 wild boars in the valley, found in many areas, the official said.