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FPJ Legal: Bombay HC voices concern over rise in animal attacks on humans in forests

09:58 PM Dec 03, 2021 | Narsi Benwal

Mumbai: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently took into account the rise in the incidents of brutal attack on humans by wild animals, especially in the Vidharbha forests. The HC has accordingly asked the Maharashtra government to take steps to protect lives of the field staff, which looks after the tigers.

A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Pansare was hearing PIL filed by one Udayan Patil highlighting the issue especially the death of a female staff last month in the Gadchiroli Forest.

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"Before the incident taken up in this petition, several such killings have occurred due to attacks on human beings by wild animals including Tiger in last 3-4 years," the judges said while noting that around 54 people died in 2017, 33 in 2018, 39 in 2019 and 88 were killed in 2020.

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Notably, 52 humans have been killed by wild animals in this year till now.
Having perused the data, the judges noted that stringent measures are required to be taken for protecting precious human life and so also the wild life as there is a direct connection between the humans and wild life.
"If the wild life feels safe and secure in terms of shelter, tranquility and availability of food, there would be lesser possibility of wild life attacking human beings," the bench said, adding, "If human beings feel safe and secure while in forest there would be least possibility of humans turning against the forests and wild life."


In other words, the judges said, "there is a need for creating an environment where both man and forests with wildlife peacefully co-exist, and if such conditions are not created, they need to be created soon, the possibility of some humans actively harming wild animals may become a reality."


"Such incidents are the wake up calls for all government machinery, forest officials and members of civil society to think of taking immediate steps to restore the balance of peaceful co-existence of all," the judges opined.
Some measures that the state authorities need to take, the bench said, includes providing proper habitat for the wild life, providing of sufficient training to the field staff, labourers and also to the tourists who happen to visit the forest areas teeming with wild life, providing of protective shields such as armours, protective guards around neck. It also should give of proper training to the guides and tourists as regards their behaviour while in forest, providing of well protected buses for tourist purposes discarding use of smaller open vehicles like Gypsies etc.


The bench has accordingly adjourned the matter for hearing till December 15.

Deaths occurred due to wild animal attack:

Year Number of victims

2017 54

2018 33

2019 39

2020 88

2021 52 (till November)

Total 266

Also Read: Mumbai | In depth: More attacks put human-leopard conflict back in focus; forest officials set up animal traps

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