India - Tamil Nadu allots funds to compensate for damages caused by wildlife

14.10.2021

The government on Monday sanctioned Rs 6.42 crore for paying compensation for damages caused by wildlife in the state for 2021-22. 

The compensation is paid for human death, injury, crop loss, cattle-lifting and property damage but has not been distributed to the victims for the past three years, said a wildlife department official. In the western region alone, there are more than 600 cases pending, said an official. 

In pre-Covid times when the four tiger reserves had revenue, compensation was provided from the tiger foundation funds. Since the pandemic struck and triggered lockdowns, the revenue came down and compensation too stopped.

In the forest department's territorial divisions, which didn't have funds like the tiger reserves, the situation was bad, he said. In a few divisions, the forest department managed to compensate the victims from funds secured from the district administration which is, however, yet to be reinmbursed, the official said. 

Release of funds now will benefit the kin of people killed by wildlife as well as those whose houses and crops were damaged by the wildlife. In Tamil Nadu, damage to crops is mainly done by elephants, followed by wild pigs. 

A few wildlife researchers, however, object to compensation being provided to people for crop damage, saying those living on the forest fringes should not raise crops such as banana and sugarcane in the first place, as they invariably attract wildlife.

Source - https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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