Dehradun: Man-animal conflict has played havoc in Uttarakhand killing nearly 7,400 animals and 79 humans since January last year, forest minister Harak Singh Rawat told the state Assembly in a written reply on Wednesday.
Uttarakhand is one of the states plagued by frequent incidents of man-animal conflicts. Recently, the forest department deployed a hunter to take down a leopard after it attacked a child at a house in Bageshwar district. The leopard is still yet to be neutralised.
Data suggests that besides 79 humans, close to 11,000 domesticated animals were killed by wild animals in the last 18 months. Some 1,180 hectare of agricultural land was also damaged, official records show.
Experts say that the rise in man-animal conflict is unlikely to go down owing to deforestation for expanding cities in the plains and shrinking agriculture in the hills.
“Leopard attacks are increasing in the hills as people are leaving agriculture thus, giving more space to the big cats to manoeuvre close to human settlements,” said Pauri-based hunter, Joy Hukil, who has gunned down over 30 man-eater big cats.
Experts say it is just opposite in areas like Haridwar, Haldwani, Rishikesh, Khatima and parts of Dehradun where cities are expanding towards forests and into elephant territories.