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Man-Animal Conflicts in India
Jul 27, 2015

Man-animal conflicts are common in various parts of the country. Incidents of man-animal conflict are reported from States/Union Territories of the country. In India, wild elephants probably kill far more people than tiger, leopard or lion. But, surprisingly, human conflict involving leopard draws great amount of public attention compared to other animals. Other carnivores – tigers, lions and wolves which have been known for causing a large number of human deaths in the past, are now mostly restricted in range and their impact is not as widespread as that of the leopard. The Government is giving highest priority to mitigate the problem. It supplements the financial resources available with the States/ Union Territory Governments for the purpose by providing limited funds under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of 'Project Tiger', 'Project Elephant' and 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats'. Payment of ex-gratia to the victims of wild animals is the responsibility of the concerned State/ Union Territory Governments. Animals like elephant, tiger, leopard, wild dog, monkey, wild boar; Nilgai, bear, sambar deer etc. are major animals involved in  human-animal conflict in India.

Seriousness of Man-Animal Conflict in India

In India, man-animal conflict is seen across the country in a variety of forms, including monkey menace in the urban areas, crop raiding by ungulates and wild pigs, depredation by elephants, and cattle and human killing by tigers and leopards.

Damage to agricultural crops and property, killing of livestock and human beings are some of the worst forms of man-animal conflict.

The increase in man-animal conflict is likely due to the greater resilience and adaptability of wild animals in face of their shrinking habitats, which allow them to live successfully close to human habitation.

Degradation of habitats, depletion of the natural prey base, changing crop patterns, suitability of man modified habitats to wild animals, presence of stray dogs and cattle in forest fringe areas etc are other reasons. Crops like sugarcane and tea estates are reported to provide excellent cover for wild animals.

As per Elephant Census held in 2007-08, estimated population of Elephant in India is 27669-27719.

In India, wild elephants probably kill far more people than tiger, leopard or lion. But, surprisingly, human conflict involving leopard draws great amount of public attention compared to other animals. Other carnivores – tigers, lions and wolves which have been known for causing a large number of human deaths in the past, are now mostly restricted in range and their impact is not as widespread as that of the leopard.

The Government   has initiated a number of steps in this regard including the following:

1. Providing assistance to State Governments for improvement of habitat to augment food and water availability and to reduce movement of animals from the forests to the habitations.

2. Encouraging State Governments for creation of a network of Protected Areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.

3. Awareness programmes to sensitize the people about the Do’s and Don’ts to minimize conflicts.

4. Training programmes for forest staff and police to address the problems of human-wildlife conflicts.

5. Issuance of guidelines to the State Governments for management of human-leopard conflict.

6. Providing technical and financial support for development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation to the rescue centres or release back to the natural habitats.

7. Providing assistance to State Governments for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks.

8. Supplementing State Government resources for payment of ex-gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks.

9. Empowering the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State/Union Territories to permit hunting of such problematic animals under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

10. Providing assistance to the State Governments for eco-development activities in villages around Protected Areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the Protected Areas.

11. Encouraging and supporting involvement of the research and academic institutions and leading voluntary organizations having expertise in managing human -wildlife conflict situations.

Some devices of Information Technology, viz., radio collars with Very High Frequency, Global Positioning System and Satellite uplink facilities, are being used by the research institutions including Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, State Forest Departments and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to monitor the movement of Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Olive Ridley Turtles, and other wild animals to understand their movements and their use pattern of the habitat.   

Assistance Provided by MoEFCC to Mitigate Man-Animal conflicts


Under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, MoEF has been providing financial and technical assistance to the State/UT Governments for the conservation and management of wildlife including for activities aimed at mitigating man-animal conflicts.

Such activities include the creation of appropriate animal barriers ( solar, barbed wire and chain link fencing, trenches, walls etc.).

In 2015, Centre eases process to declare wildlife vermin:

Increasing man-animals conflict that causes damage to crops and other human property has led the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) to ask states to send proposals to declare wild animals vermin for specified period in a given area. Once declared vermin, that particular species can be hunted or culled without restriction.

If implemented, it will apply to wild animals listed in various Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972, other than Schedule I & Part II of Schedule II that lists most endangered and iconic species like tigers, leopards, and elephants.

The new advisory will apply to not only nilgais and wild boars that destroy crops but also to animals like wild dogs, chitals, sambars, langurs, and many species of birds that damage crops, they added.

MoEFCC has asked states to send proposals to declare wild animals or herds of them as vermin if they have become dangerous to human life or property, or if they have become so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery. While declaring animals as vermin, officials will not have to give any justification to hunt them as is the case with Schedule I animals like tigers and leopards.

Despite specific advisories and guidelines from time to time for animals like tiger, leopard, bluebulls etc, the state governments are not equipped to deal with the situation, says MoEFCC. There have been suggestions from many quarters that species like bluebull and wild boar should be put in Schedule V (vermin) of the WPA so their populations can be culled

Problems associated:

Officials and environmentalists fear that protected species could be hunted in the name of eliminating vermin. They point out it is not easy for field staff to differentiate meat of chital from nilgai’s or wild boar.


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