Friday, May 16, 2008

Tiger mauls man in Kheri forest

Tiger mauls man in Kheri forest

14 May 2008, 0534 hrs IST,Neha Shukla,TNN

LUCKNOW: Human interference in the wild is now fast turning on to them. In the latest manifestation of the severe man-animal conflict, a 30-year-old man Baburam was killed and partially eaten by a tiger in Mailani range of South Kheri forest division. Experts and officials agreed that Joint Forest Management (JFM) could help reducing the interference.

On Monday, a partially eaten body of the man was found lying in the forest area. According to the official version, probably the man had gone to collect firewood when the tiger charged onto him. Similar incidents, where partially eaten bodies were recovered from forest areas in Mohammadi and Mailani ranges of South Kheri, were reported in March and April. Officials are yet to conclude if it is the same animal or different ones who have attacked men in three reported incidents.

'Care and share' policy of the forest department, under Joint Forest Management (JFM) can help bring a change. "JFM can reduce biotic pressure on forests," said VP Singh, secretary, Tarai Nature Conservation Society.

"If we can provide the poorest of the lot in reserved forest areas some alternative fuel, things could improve. People who are extremely poor have to depend on firewood and they are most vulnerable of the lot," said sources in the department.

The other need for which local villagers are dependent on forest, is fodder for their cattle. The green cover around villages is reducing and people are moving inside the forest area. "There is a need to create buffer zone and massive afforestation around villages would help," added sources. The department claims that plantation is already going on under JFM, which is operational all over UP, including North and South Kheri.

The forest area in UP is existing up to Tarai, which is the most productive belt of the state. No doubt it is witnessing deforestation at an alarming rate. The forest area is getting converted into farmland. "Sugarcane, which is fast replacing normal crops in the region, is also one of the reasons behind wild attacks as it provides tigers a thick cover to give litters and when men venture into these fields they are attacked by the hiding animals," said MA Khalid, who was a world-bank coordinator for UP and Uttrakhand and currently an associate professor in one of the universities.

Cultivating crops like jute and others that do not attract herbivores can also be of help. It is on most occasions that tigers come out of thickets following these herbivores and then they attack humans.

JFM is an initiative to create a sense of belonging among the forest users who are people living in areas situated close to forest areas and dependent on it for their various needs.

Government of India has sanctioned Rs 30 crore for making Joint Forest Management (JFM) a success in Uttar Pradesh for 2007-08. Joint Forest Management, as the name suggests, is a collaborative programme which involves both the forest department and communities of forest users in not only conserving forest cover but also enhancing it. The concept has been a late starter in the state beginning 1997.

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