Wildlife Conservation Efforts

A turf war with the wild


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Forest in Kerala and comparison with forest in other states

Mains level: Measures to address human-wildlife conflict

Why in the news?

  • Instances of human-animal conflict are on the rise in Kerala with the summer heat, scarcity of food, and loss of habitat forcing wild animals to stray into human habitations for sustenance.


  • Vulnerability of tribal communities living in such areas. While they have intricate knowledge of the forest and its resources, they lack the protective measures and resources available to more urbanized populations, leaving them more susceptible to the dangers of wildlife encounters.

Human-animal conflict in Kerala-

  • Surge in Incidents: Kerala has experienced a significant increase in human-animal conflict incidents across its districts, attributed to the state’s significant forest cover and densely populated settlements near wildlife habitats.
  • Human Casualties: Human-wildlife conflicts have resulted in a substantial loss of human lives, with 93 reported deaths in 2023-24. The previous year recorded 98 human casualties.
  • Hotspot District: Wayanad stands out as a hotspot for human-animal conflicts, with 69 reported deaths between 2011 and 2024. Incidents involve encounters with wild elephants and, in one case, a tiger attack.
  • Diverse Wildlife Involved: Human-animal conflicts in Kerala involve various species, including elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, wild gaurs, wild boars, and monkeys. This diversity underscores the complexity of managing conflicts across different ecosystems and habitats.
  • Impact on Livelihoods: The conflicts have severe repercussions on people’s livelihoods, particularly those dependent on agriculture and farming. Attacks by wild animals prevent farmers from cultivating their land, leading to economic hardship and food insecurity.
  • Vulnerable Communities: Vulnerable communities like tribal groups and small-scale farmers are disproportionately affected by human-animal conflicts. Limited resources and infrastructure exacerbate their vulnerability to wildlife attacks, as seen in the case of Abraham Palatt and his family.

Steps taken by Government to deal these issues – 

  • State-Specific Disaster: The Kerala government declared human-animal conflict as a state-specific disaster in March, becoming the first state to do so. This decision signifies the severity and urgency of addressing the issue.
  • Responsibility Shift: Management of human-animal conflicts now falls under the purview of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), with a committee headed by the Chief Minister established for this purpose.
  • Community Involvement: The government plans to involve local communities through neighborhood groups to enhance surveillance on forest fringes. These groups will collaborate with government agencies and elected representatives to disseminate alerts about wildlife presence.
  • Recruitment and Equipment: The government aims to strengthen surveillance by recruiting more forest watchers and establishing rapid response teams equipped with firearms, surveillance devices, drones, tranquilizing guns, and advance warning systems.
  • Inter-State Collaboration: An inter-State coordination committee involving the Forest departments of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu has been formed to address human-wildlife conflicts collectively. This initiative aims to share intelligence and resources to mitigate conflicts, particularly along interstate borders.

Measures to address human-wildlife conflict-

  • Forest Quality Improvement: Improving the quality of forests through measures such as reducing fragmentation and patchiness can help create healthier ecosystems that support a more balanced coexistence between humans and wildlife.
  • Conservation Mission with Tribal Communities: Involving tribal communities in conservation efforts ensures their participation and traditional knowledge is valued. Collaborative conservation initiatives can promote sustainable practices and protect both biodiversity and livelihoods.
  • Rejuvenation of Natural Forest Streams: Restoring natural water sources in forests is crucial for wildlife habitat and can help mitigate conflicts by providing essential resources within their natural environment.
  • Removal of Invasive Plants and Replanting Indigenous Species: Removing invasive plant species and replanting indigenous ones can restore ecological balance and support native wildlife populations, reducing their reliance on human-impacted areas.
  • Utilization of MGNREGS: Leveraging government schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to support conservation efforts can provide employment opportunities while simultaneously contributing to environmental restoration projects.
  • Awareness Programs on Responsible Tourism: Educating tourists about responsible behavior around wildlife can minimize human-wildlife conflicts caused by human disturbance. This includes emphasizing the importance of maintaining a safe distance and respecting wildlife habitats.
  • Effective Institutional Framework: Establishing a robust institutional framework at various levels of governance, from local to inter-state, is essential for coordinated action in managing human-wildlife conflicts. This involves collaboration between different government departments, wildlife authorities, and local communities.


Human-wildlife conflicts surge in Kerala, endangering lives and livelihoods. Government initiatives, community involvement, and conservation efforts are crucial for mitigating conflicts and fostering coexistence, ensuring a sustainable future for both humans and wildlife.

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