Man-animal conflict takes heavy toll in Tangmarg
When Kashmir was celebrating Eid in the autumn of 2013, Gulam Hassan Ganie decided to take his grand-daughter Iqra on a stroll to nearby fields in Tangmarg. After waking some distance Iqra insisted to take some rest. As they sat on a mound of dry mud, a black bear suddenly attacked them from behind. Both Hassan and Iqra were grievously injured. Iqra spent six days at hospital in Srinagar but Hassan lost battle with his life. This is just a sample of the man animal conflict that has taken an alarming proportion in Tangmarg alone. In 2016-17 nine cases of wild life attacks were reported in the Tangmarg. Two were serious, while seven others were treated locally at Tangmarg hospital. Twenty three cases of man-animal conflict were reported in the area in 2013-14. Two persons were reportedly killed and 21 injured including three children in wild animal attacks. Similarly in 2014-15, nineteen people including four women and one child were injured. Muhmmad Yousuf Mir, a farmer vividly remembers the day when he survived a near death in Bongam village of Kunzar. Yousuf was watering his orchid on August 23, 2014, when black bear slapped him across his face. “I was bleeding. I did not respond either to the attack. I pretended to be dead. I was lying on the gorund with blood oozing from my cheeks”, he said. The black bear mauled Yousuf’s face and fractured his arm. Yousuf spent next one week in ICU and returned home with 440 stitches on his head. It took three reconstructive surgeries to regain his face. Officials said Tangmarg range of Jammu and Kashmir Wild Life protection department is more prone to the wild life attacks. “The humans have gone deep into the jungles and constructed the houses there. It is natural that wild animal will attack when threatened. Ferozpura Nalla is the favourite route for the wild animals to visit the villages”, said Abdul Majeed Dar, an official at Wild Life department Tangmarg. Dar said the department does not have the requied manpower to handle the situations. “We have to depend on the casual labourers when it comes to rescue teams. The department has only six people, who are well trained in rescue operations. For 180 sq. km area six people are insufficient”, he said Not only have humans suffered in the man-animal conflict, but domestic animals too are falling prey to the beasts.. “It was around 10pm on January 5 when two leopards entered the barn of Abdul Rahim Shah at Taki-Batpora Kunzar. “When I went to check and flashed my light, I saw two leopards coming out. I got scared and tried to make hue and cry. This scared the leopards and they ran away. Twenty out of forty sheep were killed that night. It was like a massacre”, he said Shah said a case was registered but no compensation was given to him. Officials said the department provides Rs 5000 to Rs one lakh for the injured and three lakh to the kins of persons killed by wild animals. However there is no provision for compensation for the loss of domestic animals in the wild animal attacks.