Karnataka and Kerala to jointly tackle human-wildlife conflict
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Karnataka and Kerala to jointly tackle human-wildlife conflict

March 11, 2024

Forest Ministers resolve to protect Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, spanning Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu

Bandipur: Minister for Forest Ecology and Environment, Eshwar B. Khandre, convened a meeting with his Kerala counterpart, A.K. Saseendran, and senior officials from Tamil Nadu to address the escalating human-wildlife conflicts in the region and strategise joint efforts to mitigate them.

The tripartite meeting, held at the auditorium near the Safari Reception Centre at Bandipur on Sunday, saw an agreement to collaborate on identifying and expanding wildlife habitats, underscoring a shared commitment to forest conservation.

Kerala and Karnataka inked an agreement to jointly combat the menace. This pact entails a collaborative mapping of areas susceptible to wildlife attacks, prompt resolution of issues and swift exchange of information between the two States.

Minister Khandre emphasised the collective resolve of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to tackle man-animal conflicts, poaching and safeguarding forests and wildlife. He clarified that the meeting was not at the behest of the Central Government but stemmed from the mutual concern and proactive efforts of the three southern States. Khandre remarked, “Our commitment to mitigating human-animal conflicts transcends borders. Strategic coordination fosters seamless collaboration, structured information sharing and concerted efforts against these challenges.”

Highlighting the historical movement of wild animals across State borders, Khandre stressed the need to address elephant corridors and tiger migration routes. Plans to minimise casualties and crop damage are underway.

During discussions, Saseendran advocated for updating the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 to address contemporary challenges effectively. He urged timely amendments, citing significant shifts in social realities since the law’s enactment.

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The meeting underscored the importance of joint efforts within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, spanning Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It emphasised collaborative population estimation of elephants and vultures and shared best practices in forest and wildlife conservation.

Khandre unveiled the Inter-State Coordination Committee Charter 2024, facilitating collaborative conflict mitigation efforts across the three States.

Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chief Wildlife Wardens and officials from all three southern States attended. The meeting also addressed challenges such as invasive weeds and explored collaborative initiatives for employment generation.

Inter-State management strategy

• Recognition of shared habitats: Acknowledging the shared responsibility to conserve forests amidst the encroachment of  human settlements.

• Commitment to collaboration: Pledging to collaborate seamlessly, share intelligence effectively and conduct joint operations to address conservation challenges.

• Exchange of resources and expertise: Facilitating the exchange of critical resources, expertise and knowledge among the participating States.

• Synchronised population estimation: Undertaking synchronised population estimation of wildlife species and coordinating operations accordingly.

• Advisory board formation: Establishing an advisory board comprising experts to provide guidance and resolve conflicts arising from conservation efforts.

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