Following an unprecedented rise in man-animal conflicts including eight villagers being mauled by a problem leopard within 25 days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been urged to announce a special package to implement 'alternate livelihood programme' for minor forest produce (MFP) and livestock dependent families living in Tadoba landscape and wildlife corridors.
The Satpuda Foundation, which is a member of the NationalBoard for Wildlife (NBWL), has demanded a special package from the Prime Minister, who is also the chairman of NBWL. In a letter to the PMO on Wednesday, the Satpuda Foundation identified at least 189 spots in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve landscape where big cats are present.
Communities living in Tadoba's buffer villages and wildlife corridors mostly depend on MFP like bamboo, mahua flowers and tendu leaves for their livelihood. Hence, humans who enter the forest to collect forest produce or to graze livestock, put themselves at risk of attack.
From 2007 to 2013, around 83 human deaths and around 5,861 cattle kill cases have been recorded in Chandrapur district alone, as against 223 human and 21,775 cattle kills in the entire state.
The Satpuda Foundation has sought the PMO's intervention to implement preventive steps rather than simply paying compensation. It is time for a special package to solve man-animal conflict by implementing an alternate livelihood programme for MFP. The Satpuda Foundation will also write to MLAs and MPs in Vidarbha to gather support to design and implement such a package.
The copy of the letter has also been sent to Jayanthi Natarajan, Union environment and forest minister, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
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