Joint action plan to be drawn up to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in Wayanad, says Kerala Forests Minister

Forest Minister AK Saseendran has said that the government is seriously considering drafting a joint action plan to reduce human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad district after discussing the issue with neighboring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Addressing an all-party meeting here on Monday to discuss the recent spurt in human-wildlife conflicts and the compensation for victims, Mr. Saseendran said, as the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary was adjacent to the Nagarhole tiger reserves and Bandipur of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu, the movement of animals across the States was common.

“Coordination between officials of the three states is the need of the hour to prevent the entry of wild animals into human habitats and to conduct a census of higher mammals like tiger and elephants as the entire area is spread over 12,000 km²,” said the Minister, adding that measures would be adopted to root Senna spectabilis plant species. The rampant growth of invasive species has posed a serious threat to wildlife habitat over the past ten years.

An amount of ₹ 46 crore has been allocated for the purpose and the work will start in a fortnight. There was plan to regenerate natural forests where monocultures like teak and eucalyptus were planted in the forest area to ensure fodder for wildlife, he said.

A comprehensive master plan to reduce man-animal conflict in the district was drawn up and the final draft would be ready by the end of the month, Mr. Saseendran said. A meeting of people’s representatives and political parties would be convened prior to finalizing the draft, he added.

The Forest Department’s rapid response team would be strengthened and more permanent staff would be appointed to the team. Measures would be expedited to pay out compensation in wildlife attacks and crop raids, the minister added.

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