Insurance scheme for cattle lost to tigers mooted

Sustaining the prey-base of the big cat was also discussed.

Sustaining the prey-base of the big cat was also discussed.  

Growing tiger base has brought with it challenges of man-animal conflict.

The Union Environment Ministry and the Department of Livestock and Animal Husbandry are exploring a scheme to devise an insurance policy that will compensate people who lose their livestock to tigers.

A day after India declared that it had 2,967 tigers — a 33% jump since the last tiger census in 2014 — officials from several Ministries met on Tuesday to discuss ways to ensure that these gains were not lost.

No policy currently

The growing tiger base, however, has also brought with it challenges of man-animal conflict, with reports of tigers preying on cattle and sometimes mauling humans who live in the vicinity of their habitat. “Currently, there is no policy on compensating people for such cattle lost because tiger reserves are no-go areas, and people and cattle are not supposed to be present. However, in the larger interest of reducing man-animal conflict, we need to think of such measures,” said Siddhantha Das, Director-General (Forests), Union Environment Mministry. He was one of the participants in the meeting.

Another plan discussed was to improve water conservation in forests, along with the Jal Shakti Ministry, Mr. Das said. Sustaining tigers is about sustaining its prey-base. He attributed the greater presence of tigers to more dependable water sources, and the presence of more chital and deer.

The nearly 6% annual increase in the tiger population could mean mean at least 3,400 tigers by the next survey, and therefore increasing pressure on its habitat and on the occurrence of man-animal conflict.

Regional disparity

“While we have habitat to accommodate an increase, this is a problem that has to be seriously addressed. Some regions like Madhya Pradesh are showing a significant rise and regions with low populations not much. We will have to transfer animals among States, but to do that we have to ensure that low population reserves are prepared and made amenable to sustaining populations,” Y. Jhala, Principal Scientist, Wildlife Institute India. He was among the lead coordinators of the survey.

Just last week, a tiger was brutally beaten to death in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh, and in 2018, a tigress transferred from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha was found dead.

“Tiger occupancy has increased in the State of Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. Loss in North East is due to poor sampling. Madhya Pradesh has also registered a substantial increase in their tiger population and along with Karnataka ranks highest in tiger numbers. The poor and continuing decline in tiger status in the States of Chhattisgarh and Odisha is a matter of concern,” the National Tiger Estimate (survey) notes.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 4:54:07 PM |

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