Wildlife count up, poisoning cases too in Nilgiris: Activists

The conservation and anti-poaching activities in Tamil Nadu have boosted the population of tigers, vultures and Nilgiri tahr, but on the other hand, the wildlife activists are upset over recent death of elephants and depleting population of wild boar, jackal and small mammals due to wildlife poisoning over the years.
Wildlife count up, poisoning cases too in Nilgiris: Activists

Chennai

Besides the habitat fragmentation, the wildlife in Tamil Nadu is slowly facing the threats of wildlife poisoning and there are no concrete data on the subject. Sample studies on wildlife autopsies done by veterinarians in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have confirmed the presence of chemicals involved in wildlife poisoning cases, but the issue is yet to be solved, said a senior forest official who has served in Coimbatore circle.

Toxicity in dead wild animals has been reported in Periyar and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries and these deaths are due to the poisoning of farm produce by estate owners and farmers. Unlike the poaching cases, the poison cases are not dealt seriously, said conservation scientist A Kumaraguru of Biodiversity Conservation Foundation. There are cases of elephants and wild boars dying due to poisoning and electrocution but there is no micro-level data for effective policy-making, Kumaraguru said.

According to a recent statement, submitted by Minister of State for Environment and Forests Manish Sharma in Parliament, the total number of elephants died due to unnatural reasons like train accidents, electrocution, poaching and poisoning during the last three years has touched 373. Of this, more than 80 deaths are related to train accidents and poisoning of jumbos.

The government conducts inquiry into death of every wild elephant and FIRs are also lodged in case of unnatural deaths, but the death of small mammals is yet to get the same attention as that of tiger and elephant, admitted an informed officer wishing not to be named.

Financial and technical assistance is provided to elephant range states under the centrally-sponsored schemes “Project Elephant” and may be in the days to come there may be more programmes for the protection of small mammals. For instance, the vulture conservation programme banning the chemical diclofenac is a success in Tamil Nadu, the official noted.

The Union Ministry had approved a pilot project on the immune-contraception for controlling the population of wild animals responsible for damage and destruction of crops covering elephant, wild boar, monkey and nilgai.

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