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Negative interactions between people and wild boar high in areas bordering protected areas, says study

‘In places such as Coonoor, Kotagiri and Udhagamandalam, wild boars are seen near towns due to the presence of open dumping sites that attracts the animals’

September 09, 2022 06:39 pm | Updated September 10, 2022 08:14 am IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

Wild boars often stray into residential areas in Udhagamandalam town and attack domestic animals.

Wild boars often stray into residential areas in Udhagamandalam town and attack domestic animals. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

With State Governments across Southern India coming up with management plans to deal with wild boars, due to the animals having negative interactions with humans, a study in the Western and Eastern Ghats predicts that such negative interactions between people and the species could be occurring in around 30 % of the total study area, encompassing 16 protected areas.

In the paper, ‘Factors driving human-wild pig interactions: implications for wildlife conflict management in southern parts of India’ published in Biological Invasions, researchers David Milda, Tharmalingam Ramesh, Riddhika Kalle, V. Gayathri, M. Thanikodi and K. Ashish conducted interviews and used models to predict negative human-wild boar interactions in 16 protected areas, including in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Theni, Kodaikanal, Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Erode, Dharmapuri and Hosur.

The study revealed that the maximum number of reported negative interactions occurred in fringe areas where people lived in close proximity to forest areas, with almost 77 % of all respondents reporting such incidents. However, such negative interactions were fewer in number in protected areas and reserve forests, with 13 % and 10 % of respondents reporting such incidents. The study also revealed that negative interactions between humans and the species had largely economic implications with very few injuries or deaths to people reported due to such interactions.

Milda David, a research scholar at the Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), and one of the lead authors of the paper, told The HIndu though wild boars were resident to the regions where they have become a problem, that their continued negative interactions would pose significant threat for other wildlife using the same landscapes. Ms. David said that in places such as Coonoor, Kotagiri and Udhagamandalam, wild boars were seen near towns due to the presence of open dumping sites that attracts the animals. She said that she hoped the paper would allow policy makers to identify underlying causes to such interactions and take steps to draw the animals near human communities.

Ashish Kumar, one of the authors of the paper and Senior Project Fellow at SACON, said that due to the adaptable nature of wild boars, negative interactions could occur in 6,729 square kilometers out of the survey area encompassing 22,525 square kilometers.

He said that with wild boar populations increasingly coming into confrontation with human communities, it was important for forest and wildlife management authorities to identify locations where they would need to implement strategies to control the population of wild boars. “Due to the negative interactions with the animals, and loss accrued by human communities due to crop damage, people usually take it upon themselves to target these animals with crude bombs and other devices, which in the long term, impact other species of wildlife as well. This is why it is important that these negative interactions are controlled, and this study could help policy makers focus on negating conflicts in such key areas where there is a large interface of humans and wild boar,” said Mr. Ashish Kumar.

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