World Tiger Day stresses on the need for co-existence of man and the animal

Report by: 
Rituparna Sengupta
Kolkata
30 Jul 2018

Amidst the fanfare that the World Tiger Day was observed yesterday the issue of  conservation of big cat, important for maintaining a fine ecological balance once again came to the fore, particularly in areas like north Bengal where the spread of human habitats has led to the eviction of big cats from their abodes.
Various programmes to highlight the importance of  tiger conservation were held across the state with the focus to meet the  needs of local forest and rural community without compromising the forest eco system.
The problem that was most talked of was how wildlife was getting endangered because of spread of the human habitat.
For example in the tea gardens of Dooars wildlife is getting clobbered as tea
gardens are rapidly mushrooming in dense forests endangering the abodes of animals.  The leopards of the Dooars region enter these tea gardens to give birth to their babies  during the months between May and August. But due to brisk deforestation and menacing mushrooming of the tea gardens, the leopards are either killed or they attack men when the animals carry their babies with them.
Says environmentalist  Gautam Ghosh who has studied  the matter thoroughly: ``Insufficient man power and shoddy surveillance of the Forest Department have led to this sorry state of affairs.’’ His NGO, Nature and Adventure Society (NAS) and its members have frequently arranged meetings between tea garden labourers and the management so that the number of security guards is increased.  According to the administration  labourers who go deep into the forest to egest often fall victim to the leopards. The local administration organized several awareness camps to ensure that labourers enter the forest in groups and also carry crackers with them. These big cats carry their babies and migrate from place to place to ensure safety. ``This has been the routine of the leopards but they are often geopardised by human encroachment,’’ said one expert.
In areas like Malbazar cheetahs are pouncing on unsuspecting  people killing or injuring them. For example a 51-year-old man fell victim to such an attack. The fear of the attack left the whole neighbourhood distressed. People were asked to stay within their homes and be alert while following their daily chores.
In Lataguri area, the government has constructed a railway overbridge cutting the forest area for convenience  of  human beings. Alternative plans should have been evolved to construct such a bridge, say experts.