Bear in the Room
A bear and a cub have been spotted in Srinagar, one of the densely populated districts of Jammu and Kashmir. This is not the first time that the wild beast has been spotted in Srinagar. Earlier more ferocious leopards roamed the city’s uptown including Bagh-e-Mehtab.
While the leopards luckily caused no damage to humans in Srinagar, the bear and the cub have already injured a man, a chowkidar of a school near Lal Mandi which houses many government offices as well as many educational institutions, private and public.
Over the years, there has been a sizable increase in man-animal conflicts, leading to the loss or injury to the precious life.
There has been reckless exploitation of the environment over the years. Both officials at the helm of affairs and people are responsible. The growing man-animal conflict serves as a dire warning to all and calls for the need to renew focus to avoid confrontations.
As per professionals, human-wildlife conflict is essentially set off by competition for shared natural resources and happens due to the negative interactions mounting between humans and wild animal species. The objectionable consequences of human-wildlife conflict, the experts underline, are crop annihilation, reduced agricultural productivity, struggle for grazing lands and water supply, livestock predation, injury and death to humans, infrastructure damage, and amplified risk of zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife and livestock.
Destruction of forests sends wild animals closer to humans. There were reports when the covid-19 pandemic started that the animals carried the virus along with them. The biodiversity in forests harmlessly retains dangerous viruses and other pathogens among a vast pool of wild animals, away from people. This aspect also underscores the value of maintaining viable ecosystems, and eliminating the entry of the wild animals from entering human surroundings.
There has been reckless exploitation of the environment over the years. Both officials at the helm of affairs and people are responsible. The growing man-animal conflicts serve as a dire warning to all the concerned that there should be no hasty permissions for projects in already enfeebled forests. There is ample evidence that environmental protection confers health protection and forests should be left undisturbed.
If poaching is one aspect of the conservation challenge, the other side of the story is the fast encroachments that threaten to endanger animals and the environment.
There is a need to promote conservation encompassing survival of all as well as diversity of the ecosystem. There is a need to create awareness, as also the action aimed at preventing people from causing disturbances to the wildlife.