Bengaluru: Human-wildlife conflict across Karnataka has killed 149 people in the past three years — accounting for almost one death every week. Most lives were lost in Virajpet (16 deaths) and Madikeri (12), both in Kodagu district.
The data was collated by the Forest Department from its 36 forest/ wildlife divisions between 2014-15 and 2016-17, Minister for Forests B. Ramanath Rai presented the data in the Assembly recently.
The Forest Department said it had paid Rs. 7.4 crore as compensation to the families of the deceased. “Starting August 2011, the compensation amount for the families of those who lost their lives in conflict situations has been revised to Rs. 5 lakh. We are taking steps to ensure that the compensation amount reaches the family as early as possible,” said a senior forest official.
The official said conflict was inevitable since wild animals, especially large ones like elephants, need large forest lands. “However, shrinking habitats, fragmented forest areas and change in land use has led to these animals coming in frequent conflict situation with humans. Also, the crop pattern being followed by farmers in villages that are located around the forest areas also attract elephants to stray out of the forest,” he added.