Wild animals from the forests have extended their jurisdiction into human settlements during the lockdown period. This has also posed a new challenge for the forest department that has now prepared a strategy to avoid animal-human conflict post lockdown.

Several incidents of animals straying from core to buffer areas and from there to human settlements have been reported in the lockdown period. Several incidents of tigers straying out from Bandhavgarh and Kanha tiger reserves and attacking cattle have been reported besides mauling humans.

‘There is no doubt that wildlife has extended its boundaries from existing forests towards human settlements. They will not retract unless forced to do it,’ said wildlife expert, Mridul Pathak. Extended silence and no movements of people during the lockdown period have forced the animals to assume that buffer area of forests has been extended.

‘We are preparing a plan for wildlife management for such situation. This is an unprecedented situation that has never been witnessed by anyone of our generation. Humans are in isolation and wildlife has strolled out extending its boundaries,’ said a senior PCCF, wishing not to be quoted.

Field staff of Kanha and Bandhavgarh tiger reserve has started extensive patrolling at the boundaries of their buffer zones. However, these are limited vehicles and will have less impact on animals. Once the lockdown period ends, human activities increase and more vehicles start moving, animals will retract to their older limits.

Forest staff also use fire crackers to push wild animals to their zones. After the lockdown period number of vehicles will be increased for patrolling. Increased movement of traffic and noise will send the animals back in peaceful part of the forest. This will be done step by step, from human settlements to buffer zone and thereon, said the official.

The forest official admitted that it might take about 3-4 months after lockdown period to push back the wild animals to their old boundaries.

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