Man-animal conflicts have declined by nearly 40 cent in Tamil Nadu in recent months following the introduction of protective measures by the State Government, according to Gautam Dey, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

These include the creation of 40 water troughs in forest areas to prevent wild animals from venturing into human habitations in search of water, he told reporters along the sidelines of a national workshop on ‘tree seed science and silviculture’ organised here on Thursday by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB).

A total of 65 Village Forest Committees have been constituted by the Forest Department in Coimbatore region alone to tackle this issue.

An awareness campaign had also been launched along the habitations bordering the forest areas. The villagers have been trained on ‘dos and dont's’ to avoid animal attacks. Further, the compensation for victims of animal attacks was also increased.

Mr. Dey, who is also Head of Forest Force, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, said that Coimbatore region suffered from frequent incidents of elephants venturing in to human settlements.

“The elephant population has increased as have the farming activity in places close to the forest thus attracting elephants,” he added.

R.R. Hanchinal, Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority, said that awareness campaign for farmers were being held to register the local crops and plant species, for which intellectual property rights certificates would be issued. With 22 biodiversity hot spots, India had a wide range of plants, he added.

C.S. Rama Lakshmi, Commissioner of Sericulture, Andhra Pradesh Government, said that farmers in the State were given funds to maintain saplings planted under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Around three lakh saplings have been planted in the last three years with nearly Rs. 7 crore disbursed annually under this scheme, she added.

N. Krishna Kumar, IFGTB Director, said that the institute was going to release new clones of plant species by February. Two books were also released on the occasion.

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