Man-leopard conflict: Environment Min issues guidelines

The guidelines outline a three-pronged strategy to deal with man-leopard conflict.

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 20:45 PM IST

New Delhi: In a first of its kind, the Environment Ministry today issued guidelines to states on how to deal with the issue of man-leopard conflict, which has reached serious proportions in the last few years.

The guidelines, based on consultations with a host of scientists and experts who have worked on the issue and various scientific studies and reports, outline a three-pronged strategy to deal with man-leopard conflict.

According to guidelines, "awareness generation" amongst local communities, media, and officials of various government departments is vital to educate the various stakeholders regarding the various aspects of the issue.

"It will build confidence and pave the way for cooperation between various departments like police, revenue, and forest, in addition to local communities, while addressing conflict situations," the Ministry said in a statement.

The second important component is establishing trained teams to handle conflict emergencies. Two levels of teams, the Primary Response (PR) Team and the Emergency
Response (ER) Team have been suggested.

"The PR team should consist of local community representatives trained in crowd management. Their basic role will be to secure the area before the arrival of the ER team," the Ministry said.

The ER team, comprising of forest department officials and trained veterinary staff will need to deal with the animal in a situation-specific manner.

The third component of the guidelines underscore the use of latest technology and scientific know-how to improve efficacy of capture, handling, care, and translocation (if
necessary) of the animal, and to design locale specific mitigation measures.

There is also an emphasis on scientific monitoring of problem leopards and feedback monitoring of the efficacy of mitigations measures, with independent scientists and experts.

"It is hoped that affected states will draw on these guidelines to design situation-specific mitigation measures to deal with the complex issue of man-leopard conflict," Ramesh

The guidelines were issued as the incidents of leopards `straying` into settlements causing human casualities, and the retaliatory killing of leopards by the public have been on the rise.

Leopards are highly adaptable species that live successfully in and around human-dominated agricultural landscapes.