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2019-06-29

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Environment
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A representational picture of an elephant herd emerging from a forest and entering a village in Odisha. File  

Over 2,300 people in India were killed by elephants while tigers claimed over 200 lives in the last five years, the Union Environment Ministry informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Nearly 494 persons were killed by the elephants last year alone, the Lower House was told.

Responding to a query in Lok Sabha, Minister of State (MoS) for Environment, Babul Supriyo said 2,398 people have died since 2014 up to March 31, 2019 due to human-elephant conflict with West Bengal recording the maximum 403 deaths in last five years.

West Bengal was closely followed by Nagaland where 397 persons were killed by the elephants while 349 people died in Jharkhand.

The data was shared in a written response by Mr. Supriyo to a query raised by Congress MP from Kerala, Anto Antonio in Lok Sabha on the number of human deaths by elephants and tigers in India in the last five years.

As per the data, the number of human deaths by elephants too came down from 516 in 2017-18 to 494 in 2018-2019.

According to the data, tiger-human conflict has killed 224 persons in India in the last five years with West Bengal once again recording the maximum number of human deaths in this case at 71.

The data showed the number of humans killed by the big cats was lower in 2018 at 29 compared to 2017 when 44 people were killed by the tigers in the country.

“The management of forest and wildlife is the responsibility of concerned State governments and incidence of animal-human conflicts are reported in various parts of the country from time to time.

“However, the details of people who lost their lives by elephants and tigers are given...deaths due to other wild animals are not collated by the Ministry,” the Minister said in the Lower house.

The Ministry also listed out the steps taken to avoid human-wildlife conflicts.

It said a scheme has been initiated to augment fodder and water for wild herbivores in protected/forest areas where poor habitat is known as the cause of significant human-wildlife conflict.

The Ministry said physical barriers such as barbed wire fence, solar-powered electric fence, bio-fencing using cactus, boundary wall and so on have been erected to prevent the entry of wild animals into crop field.

There are 50 tiger reserves in India which are governed by Project Tiger which is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

India is home to 70% of tigers in the world. In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014, according to the NTCA.

As per the last census in 2017 by the Ministry, there were as many as 27,312 elephants in the country. A total of 75 elephants died in 2018 while a total of 373 elephants died between 2015 and 2018, the data added.

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