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Kerala: Union Minister Bhupender Yadav holds meeting to mitigate human-animal conflict

Wayanad: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav held a high-level meeting with the state and central officials at the District Collector's office in Wayanad district of Kerala on Thursday.
Following the meeting, the minister addressed the media and outlined comprehensive measures to tackle the pressing issue of human-wildlife conflict in the region.
During the press conference, Minister Yadav emphasized the significance of ensuring both animal and human safety in Wayanad. He suggested the initiation of a community radio or coordination program to raise awareness, aligning with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Today, I had a lengthy discussion with officers and public representatives. The senior officers of the forest and scientists of Wayanad joined the interaction. After our discussion, we recognized the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of both animals and humans. Officials briefed me about the depth of the situation, leading us to the decision that our ministry will establish an interstate corridor with the assistance of the central government. We believe that Wayanad serves as the border for three states, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. To address the issue, we propose implementing an early warning system and utilizing modern technology for monitoring through geo-tagging of elephants. Additionally, we can initiate a community radio or a coordination program to raise awareness. This aligns with the vision of PM Modi," Bhupender Yadav said.
Regarding funding, Minister Yadav announced an increase in financial support under various schemes.
"Funding support by the central government will increase the funding under various schemes. Ministry of Environment and Forest is already giving 15.80 crore for Kerala. There are 54 tiger reserves and 33 elephant reserves in India. We are creating a common corridor for Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka," Bhupender Yadav said.
Responding to demands for elephant fencing and capturing wild animals, Minister Yadav clarified that the Chief Wildlife Warden, under the Wildlife Act of 1972, possesses ample authority to trap, catch, or, if necessary, eliminate problematic animals. He highlighted the central government's commitment by increasing compensation from 5 to 10 lakhs.
"Compensation of Rs 10 Lakhs will be provided for those killed in wild animal attacks," Minister Yadav said while talking to the media.
Earlier, Yadav visited the homes of the deceased on Wednesday, who died in the wild animal attack of Wayanad. Coming directly from Bengaluru for a two-day visit, he met with the families of the deceased and offerred condolences, a statement from the Ministry of of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said.
His visit comes days after Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi abruptly halted his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Varanasi, and left for his constituency, prompted by public protest over the deaths of residents in wild elephant attacks.
According to the statement, during his visit, Yadav paid respects at the homes of the victims, including Prajeesh, who fell victim to a tiger, and Paul and Ajeesh, who lost their lives in elephant attacks.
Recognizing the complex nature of human-animal conflict in the region, the minister pledged unwavering support, both politically and administratively.
"Human-animal conflict was a major problem in the region. The government would provide all support, both politically and administratively, to the officials and scientists working in this field to solve such problems. There must be a solution to this issue," the release said.

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