This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Charkha features. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Human-Animal Conflict Exists Largely Because Of Human Greed”

More from Charkha features

By Preeti Negi

COVID-19 has altered the way our world used to function. This deadly virus has brought to life some of the biggest fears of human beings. The lockdown, in different parts of the world, upended humans by forcing them to stay inside their houses bringing the hustle and bustle of city roads to a standstill.

This became an opportunity for the animals to take over. Several videos showed animals venturing into territories which were claimed hitherto only by human beings. Penguins in South Africa, coyotes in the USA, Adelaide in Australia, reindeers in the UK, Haifa in Israel, monkeys, leopards and tigers in different states of India were seen in public spaces.

in 2019 India lost 491 leopards and 110 tigers hindi article
Representational image.

Animals coming out into human territory is not a new phenomenon here, as many states in India have been reporting intense man-animal conflict for quite some time now. Amid the lockdown, the pattern of the conflict, however, has not been uniform.

In Uttarakhand’s Corbett National Park, man-elephant conflict fell sharply as lockdown had stopped traffic. While in the same state, leopards continued to attack people. On April 5, two persons sustained injuries in an attack by leopards as reported by The Times of India. Another report mentions that a woman was attacked by a leopard in Bageshwar district on April 7.

It is not just leopards who come out of their territory to attack humans and livestock, but these attacks are often carried by monkeys, langurs, and wild boars. Villagers, who rely heavily upon their agriculture produce and livestock for sustenance, have to face heavy losses due to these attacks. In Uttarakhand, as per a report published in the Hindi daily, Jansatta, wild animals have destroyed 486.348 hectares of agriculture land in 2016-17, 270.764 hectares in 2017-18, 242.578 hectares in 2018-19, and 29.079 hectares till May 2019.

Image source: Corbett National Park

The attacks have been happening frequently in Uttarakhand and this rise can be contributed to several reasons. At the larger level, deforestation and shrinking of agriculture area in the hills constitute the prime causes.

As per a parliamentary report, between 2015 and 2019, 2,850 hectares of forest land was diverted to 255 development projects in Uttarakhand. This encroachment on the land that rightfully belongs to the wild species has led to an increase in this conflict.

At a more microscopic level, there are other reasons that attract wild animals towards human settlements. A trend has been noticed in the villages, where people carelessly leave their livestock unguarded which serves as an open invitation for wild animals to attack these pets.

Villagers, owing to the growing fear of these wild animals in forests, have started cultivating crops nearer to their houses. This practice, instead of helping them, has made them and their families more vulnerable to attacks by wild animals.

As per forest department data, “159 leopards were declared human eaters till October 2017, of which 44 were shot dead between 2006 and 2016. In 2016, seven leopards were shot dead after they were declared human eaters.” These wild animals have contributed to deaths of 79 humans and nearly 11,000 domesticated animals between January 2017 to September 2018.

Before 2016, the Forest Department was free to kill these human eaters. Seeing the rise in the uncontrolled slaughter of the animals, Uttarakhand High Court prohibited the officials from taking such actions in December 2016. The department has now become more cautious in declaring attacking leopards and tigers as human-eaters and giving orders to kill them. This, however, has provided no relief to villagers who fear for their lives from these big cats.

A small Indian civet spotted in Kozhikode, Kerala. Photo source: Twitter

The human-animal conflict exists largely because of the human greed to encroach the natural habitat of these animals. The concept of ‘balance’ has been lost somewhere while chasing unorganised development.

To put an end to this conflict, the first step should be to restore their habitat which can only be achieved by afforestation. Then, smaller steps will help – putting livestock in pens at night, villagers should guard their villages and fields at night, crop insurance and other mitigation measures should be taken to ensure harmony between the social and the wild animals.

Note: This article has been written by Charkha’s rural writer Preeti Negi, from Uttarakhand

Featured image for representation only.
Featured image source: World Bank
You must be to comment.

More from Charkha features

Similar Posts

By World Animal Protection

By World Animal Protection

By Yashi Saksena

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below