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In wake of the recent man-leopard confrontations, the Environment Ministry, on 18th April, issued guidelines to states on how to deal with the issue of man-leopard conflict, which has reached serious proportions in the last few years. The guidelines, basically outline a three-pronged strategy to deal with man-leopard conflicts. The major step in this direction accordingly, would be, “awareness generation” amongst local communities, media, and officials of various government departments. It would be vital to educate the various stakeholders regarding the various aspects of the issue.
“It will build confidence and pave the way for cooperation between various departments like police, revenue, and forest, in addition to local communities, while addressing conflict situations“, the Ministry said in a statement.
The second important component is establishing trained teams to handle conflict emergencies. Two levels of teams, the Primary Response (PR) Team and the Emergency Response (ER) Team have been suggested.”The PR team should consist of local community representatives trained in crowd management. Their basic role will be to secure the area before the arrival of the ER team“, the Ministry said.The ER team, comprising of forest department officials and trained veterinary staff will need to deal with the animal in a situation-specific manner.
The third component of the guidelines emphasises the use of latest technology and scientific know-how to improve efficacy of capture, handling, care, and translocation (if necessary) of the animal, and to design locale specific mitigation measures. There is also an emphasis on scientific monitoring of problem leopards and feedback monitoring of the efficacy of mitigations measures, with independent scientists and experts.
“It is hoped that affected states will draw on these guidelines to design situation-specific mitigation measures to deal with the complex issue of man-leopard conflict“, Ramesh said.
Lets just hope these guidelines are actually helpful in tackling the slaughtering of leopards and reducing human casualties.