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Human-animal conflict: India, Nepal, Bhutan plan joint task force to protect wildlife

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New Delhi, Dec 16: The governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan are planning for a joint task force for allowing free movement of wildlife across political boundaries and checking smuggling of wildlife across the Kanchenjunga Landscape, a trans-boundary region spread across the three nations.

Representational Image

Increased human-wildlife conflict and wildlife-related crimes have emerged as a major reason for the setback in conservation and has also emerged as a threat to many an endangered species.

Recognising the transboundary nature of these challenges, governments, research institutions, and civil society representatives of Bhutan, India, and Nepal, who share this landscape, came together to outline a strategic regional roadmap for cooperation in consonance with each nation's priority for conservation and enhancing livelihoods of its citizens.

Speaking at the ''Reconciling Human-Wildlife Interface in the Kangchenjunga Landscape: Regional Dialogue for Action'' event, Soumitra Dasgupta, Inspector General of Forests (Wildlife) in West Bengal, said, "Kangchenjunga Landscape is an extremely important global biodiversity hotspots and we share this landscape between three countries. Wildlife does not understand political borders and for communities in the forefront of human-wildlife conflict, it is a stressful situation."

Dasgupta represented the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India at the programme organised by West Bengal Forest Directorate and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

According to a press release issued by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, the incidence of human-wildlife conflict is rising for several reasons.
Various mitigation measures to address human-wildlife conflicts have been implemented in the Landscape, including crop/livestock guarding, physical and electric fencing, sound and/or light alarm systems, and livestock insurance schemes. However, in someareas, retaliatory killing of wildlife species has also been reported, it said.

Further echoing the need for urgency, Ravikant Sinha, chief wildlife warden, Government of West Bengal, said, "It is imperative that we all keep the movement paths of animals open and unhindered at all times. While protection of communities and property needs to be addressed, it should also allow for safe passage to animals."

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