Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Human-Wildlife Conflict in Kerala: Causes and Remedies


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Man-Animal Conflit and its mitigation


  • The escalation of human-wildlife conflict incidents in Kerala, exemplified by recent protests in Wayanad, underscores the urgent need to address the underlying causes of such conflicts.
  • Kerala grapples with a surge in human-animal conflicts, predominantly involving elephants, tigers, bison, and wild boars, wreaking havoc in districts like Wayanad, Kannur, Palakkad, and Idukki.

Understanding the Conflict

  • Geographical Dynamics: Kerala’s significant forest cover, encompassing nearly 30% of its area, juxtaposed with densely populated human settlements and agricultural plantations near wildlife habitats, sets the stage for frequent human-animal conflicts.
  • Magnitude of Conflict: State Forest Department data reveals over 48,000 incidents of crop damage due to human-wildlife conflict between 2013-14 and 2018-19, with wild elephants being the primary culprits, followed by wild boars and bonnet macaques.

Root Causes of Conflict

  • Changing Land Use: Increased cultivation around wildlife habitats and changing cropping patterns exacerbate conflicts by encroaching upon natural habitats and altering animal migratory routes.
  • Conservation Efforts: While conservation initiatives have led to the resurgence of animal populations like elephants and tigers, they have inadvertently intensified conflicts due to habitat depletion.
  • Human Activities: Movement of livestock and humans in wildlife habitats, especially during odd hours, further exacerbates conflicts by triggering defensive responses from animals.

Proposed Solutions and Their Efficacy

  • Physical Barriers: Strategies like elephant-proof trenches and solar power fences have shown promise in mitigating conflicts but face challenges such as inadequate maintenance and breaches by locals.
  • Eco-Restoration Policy: The Forest department’s plan to restore ecosystems by planting indigenous species aims to deter animals from agricultural lands, yet its effectiveness hinges on implementation and sustenance.
  • Early Warning Systems: Adoption of early warning systems, including drones and human watchers, could help track animal movements and prevent confrontations, but their widespread adoption remains limited.

Addressing Challenges with Wild Boars

  • Culling Initiatives: While the state awaits approval to declare wild boars as vermin, local bodies have been empowered to cull them as a last resort, alongside strategies like capture, neutering, and relocation.
  • Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ): Despite the legislative assembly’s plea to exempt Kerala from ESZ norms, conservationists advocate for its implementation to mitigate conflicts, acknowledging the challenges posed by Kerala’s population density and land scarcity.

Legal Framework and Conservation Initiatives

[A] Wildlife Protection and Biodiversity Conservation

  • The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Encompassing measures to prohibit hunting, safeguard wildlife habitats, and establish protected areas, this act forms the cornerstone of India’s wildlife preservation efforts.
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002: Complementing existing legislation, this act, in alignment with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, fortifies conservation endeavors without undermining other forest and wildlife laws.

[B] National Conservation Strategies

  • National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016): Centered on fortifying protected area networks, conserving endangered species and their habitats, curbing wildlife trade, and promoting research and education, this plan embodies India’s commitment to wildlife preservation.
  • Project Tiger: A pioneering initiative under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change since 1973, Project Tiger aims to create safe havens for the majestic big cats within India’s national parks.
  • Project Elephant: Launched in 1992, this centrally sponsored scheme endeavors to protect elephants, conserve their habitats and ensure safe migration corridors, thereby safeguarding the iconic species’ future.


  • Balancing conservation efforts with the safety and livelihoods of Kerala’s populace requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the root causes of human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Collaborative efforts involving stakeholders, stringent regulatory measures, and sustainable conservation practices are imperative to foster coexistence between humans and wildlife in Kerala’s diverse landscape.

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