Big cats attack humans where food is scarce : Jameel Ahmed Khan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Gujarat
Updated on: 12 Jun 2016
Big Cats In New Territory Are More Likely To Turn On Humans, Says Jameel Ahmed Khan
Q Man-animal conflict in the state is on the rise. What are the reasons?
A There are many reasons. Lions in Saurashtra are moving into new areas in search of territory. Leopards too are venturing out. These big cats face shortage of their traditional food in the new places. This is not true of all regions but in some pockets there is no prey base. In Ambardi, for instance, where attacks on human beings have taken place, inadequate prey base could be one of the reasons. Incidentally, attacks by lions are very few compared to those by leopards. From 1993-94 to March 2016, 18 humans have been killed by lions and 219 by leopards.
Q What is the forest department doing to contain this problem?
A We are creating awareness among local people. Also, the department has called all senior and junior officials who have worked in Gir forest in the past or are associated with big cats even today, to discuss the problem and prepare a protocol for emergencies. We want to come out with some `actionable' points which can be implemented in the field.