Man-Wild Animal Conflict in India: Reasons, Issues, and Solutions

Context : The Kerala Cabinet declared human-wildlife conflict a State-specific disaster. The decision comes in the wake of increasing deaths, injuries, and crop and property loss caused by recurrent wildlife incursions into human habitations abutting forests in the State.


  • India is a land of diverse wildlife, rich in biodiversity and home to numerous species of animals. However, with the increasing human population and expanding human settlements, conflicts between man and wild animals have become a pressing issue in the country. This conflict poses significant challenges for both humans and wildlife, and it is essential to understand the reasons behind it, address the issues, and find sustainable solutions.

Reasons for Man-Wild Animal Conflict

There are several reasons contributing to the escalating man-wild animal conflict in India:

  1. Habitat Loss: Rapid urbanization and deforestation have resulted in the destruction of natural habitats, forcing animals to venture into human settlements in search of food and shelter.
  2. Encroachment of Wildlife Corridors: The encroachment of human settlements into wildlife corridors disrupts the natural movement of animals, leading to increased encounters with humans.
  3. Human-Wildlife Competition for Resources: As human populations expand, the competition for resources such as water and food intensifies, pushing animals to seek these resources in human-inhabited areas.
  4. Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade: The illegal wildlife trade fuels the decline of certain species, forcing animals to move into new territories in search of safety.
  5. Lack of Awareness and Education: Many communities living near wildlife habitats lack awareness about wildlife behavior and conservation, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Issues Arising from Man-Wild Animal Conflict

The man-wild animal conflict in India poses several issues that need to be addressed:

  1. Human Casualties: Conflicts with wild animals often result in injuries and fatalities for humans, particularly in cases involving predators like tigers and leopards.
  2. Loss of Livestock: Wild animals raiding farmlands and attacking livestock cause significant economic losses for farmers, especially those in rural areas.
  3. Damage to Property: Animals entering human settlements can cause damage to houses, crops, and other property, leading to financial burdens for affected individuals.
  4. Conservation Challenges: The conflict hampers wildlife conservation efforts as negative interactions with humans can create a negative perception of wildlife, making it harder to garner support for conservation initiatives.

Solutions to Man-Wild Animal Conflict

Addressing man-wild animal conflict requires a multi-faceted approach involving various stakeholders:

  1. Habitat Conservation and Restoration: Protecting and restoring natural habitats is crucial for maintaining ecological balance and minimizing human-wild animal conflicts. This can be achieved through initiatives like afforestation drives and the creation of wildlife corridors.
  2. Community Engagement and Education: Raising awareness among local communities about wildlife behavior, conservation, and the importance of coexistence can help reduce conflicts. This can be done through educational programs, workshops, and community-based initiatives.
  3. Effective Wildlife Management: Implementing proper wildlife management strategies, such as population monitoring, habitat assessment, and conflict resolution techniques, can help mitigate conflicts and ensure the safety of both humans and animals.
  4. Compensation and Insurance: Providing compensation for human casualties, livestock losses, and property damage can help alleviate the economic burden on affected individuals and promote tolerance towards wildlife.
  5. Collaboration between Government and NGOs: Collaboration between government agencies, NGOs, and local communities is essential for effective implementation of conservation policies, wildlife rescue operations, and conflict resolution.

Long and Short term proposed by Kerala

  • A smart elephant fence is among the long-term measures proposed by the Kerala government to prevent marauding wild elephants from reaching human habitations and reduce the instances of man-animal conflict
  • The removal of undergrowth in private estates in the district has also been proposed. The service of workers of the employment guarantee scheme would be used to remove the undergrowth
  • Eradication of invasive plants such as senna, eco-restoration activities by removing eucalyptus and acacia plantations, supporting the regeneration of natural vegetation, improvement of wildlife habitats, and charging fees for entry of private vehicles into the forest area will also be explored.
  • Plans for protecting the life and property of people and putting up fences to prevent the entry of wild animals into human habitations are also there in the long-term measures suggested by the State government.
  • Short-term measures
    • The meetings of the inter-State coordination committee, the setting up of a Command Control Centre in Wayanad, and steps for strengthening the early warning system to alert people about the possible presence of wild animals in human habitations are part of the measures taken forward by the State government.
    • Deployment of drones for surveillance, clearing compensation to victims of wild animal attacks, setting up of a new forest station, and closure of ecotourism destinations in the forest till the issue of man-animal conflict is reduced are also being implemented, the State informed the court.
    • The District Collector was asked to issue orders to private resorts located adjacent to the forest areas not to set up salt licks to attract wild animals, the State informed the court.


  • It is important to recognize that man-wild animal conflict cannot be completely eliminated, but by adopting these solutions, we can minimize its impact and create a harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.
  • Sustainable development and conservation efforts must go hand in hand to ensure the long-term survival of both humans and the magnificent wildlife that India is blessed with.

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