A key factor why animals “stray” from their habitats is that they do not follow man-made boundaries but will go where resources are.
Research shows that leopards are capable of living outside forests, in croplands, in areas with high density of people and with very low levels of conflict, according to Vidya Athreya of Wildlife Conservation Society at a workshop here on Thursday.
Citing field research, she said that capturing leopards simply because they are seen can increase the conflict and results from Maharashtra show that attacks on humans increase near release sites.
The results of our work also show that dialogue with stake-holders is extremely important to alleviate conflict, she added.
Prithviraj Fernando, scientist, Centre for Conservation and Research, Sri Lanka, spoke on the human-elephant conflicts and shared the Sri Lankan experience in handling the situations which had parallels in India.
He pointed out that the translocation of elephants will not ease the conflict which was a direct fallout of planned and unplanned development. He said that long-term elephant conservation require land use planning based on human development needs as well as elephant needs.
Ranjeeth Jadhav, journalist, highlighted the role of the media in reporting human-leopard interactions in Mumbai where leopards are often cited in the vicinity of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park which sustains about 30 leopards.
The crux of his presentation was that the media should not sensationalise the incidents but present it in a manner so that the conflicts are resolved peacefully without the administration taking knee-jerk actions which can only escalate conflict situations.