• Milind Raj

The Human-wildlife conflict

The most commonly faces challenges are habitat degradation, human-wildlife conflict, extreme fragmentation of forest areas, illegal wildlife trading, bycatch, invasive species, rising pollution, changing weather, and poaching of tigers and prey species. Wildlife protection is a serious concern under global issues. Instead of becoming a problem for wildlife, we must step into finding sustainable solutions to preserve it. We have to chalk out innovative solutions such as the use of eco-friendly products, taking care of wildlife habitats, technology to feed animals and birds and state-of-art drone technology to monitor forests.

Habitat degradation:

This is one of the most widespread concerns across the landscape. The regular and frequent collection of fuelwood and non timber forest produce by the local communities and indigenous tribes leads to degradation of the habitat, as well as disturbs wildlife due to human interferences. Additionally, illegal grazing of cattle is also seen, which not only leads to forest degradation, but also exposes the herbivores to cattle diseases.

Human-wildlife conflict

The forests in this landscape, especially wildlife corridors, are also home to many 45 indigenous groups who depend heavily of forest resources for their livelihood and other needs. Grazing of livestock in forest areas and collection of forest produce, exposes the communities to tiger attacks on humans as well as the livestock. Loss of livestock or human life sometimes leads to retaliation against wildlife and conservation measures. Due to an increase in the wild herbivore populations around Protected Areas, frequent crop raiding incidents have also been noticed and result in intense human-wildlife conflict.

Fragmentation of forest areas:

Forests falling outside the Protected Area network face serious threat of fragmentation due to developmental projects and encroachment by villagers. A large part of forest land is diverted for projects such as construction of dams, widening of highways, and construction of roads, railways, and mining. Also, expansion of villages located in the fringe area of forests, and increase in agricultural land is shrinking the habitat for wildlife.

Poaching of tigers and prey species:

Poaching of tigers for body parts such as skin and bones is the biggest threat to tiger populations around the world and in India. Due to its vastness and porous nature of the boundaries of Protected Areas, coupled with inadequate anti-poaching infrastructure, this threat is even more prevalent in Central India. Local communities and hunting tribes poach wildlife for subsistence and commercial benefits.