Bison herd strays into localities in Kasaragod; Farmers, residents in distress

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Bison herd | Photo: Screengrab from Mathrubhumi News

Kasaragod: A herd of around 25 bison (gaurs) was spotted in Karmamthody and Kulathinkal regions near Karadka here. According to locals, bison have been frequently straying into human settlements.
Bison pose a threat to residents, especially farmers. Media reports on bison attacks have aggravated their fear and exasperation. The locals also alleged that the forest department is not proactive in attending to the issues despite repeated complaints. The development comes at a time when human-wildlife conflicts in the state are in the limelight over the Arikomban issue and the Erumeli bison attack.

Human-wildlife conflict is a contentious topic and the row over it starts with what it implies. Some consider it a wild animal attack. On the other side of the aisle, some see it as a negative interaction between humans and wildlife. Though it is technically sound and solid to go with the latter, the genuine concerns and issues flagged by the former need to be addressed.

Both humans and wildlife mutually bear the brunt of human-wildlife conflict. On one side it results in loss of life of humans, injury to humans, and damage to crops or human property or domestic livestock. On the other, it will lead to inadequate wildlife population, predation of managed wildlife stock, and habitat loss.

Scientific experts in the field say that there are no easy answers like 'cull all the attacking animals' or 'let the humans suffer' for resolving the human-wildlife conflict. They say policy measures ensuring mitigation and co-existence are the way out. Meanwhile, the way human-wildlife conflict is handled also comes under various international treaties, thus making it a complex topic like climate change.

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