The ‘vote-eating’ Corbett leopards | India News – Times of India

In the serene landscape of Uttarakhand’s Nainital and Puri districts, Villager Corbett clings to a tool on the edge of a tiger reserve. Human animal conflict.
In Garhwal (Puri Garhwal) and Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, the two LS seats that went to polls on April 19, are the biggest issues. Cat and human conflict. BJP won both the seats in 2019. As the election approaches again, voters face a choice: boycott or ballot? While some consider a boycott, others say they will opt for the ‘none of the above (NOTA)’ option.
The lack of government intervention deepens the frustration.” The villagers are in no mood to cast their vote or elect a candidate. Neither our MP nor any MLA has heeded our plea. ,” lamented Lalit Opreeti, convener of the Sunikat Sangharsh Committee, which led the protest.

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In the last 10 years, big cats have claimed 264 human lives in Uttarakhand – leopards claimed 203 and tigers 61. Wildlife attacks It has disrupted daily life, closing schools and fueling protests in villages like Swaldiya, Patrani, Dhela and Puri.
Dissatisfaction is nothing new. Wildlife attacks have affected elections in the region. In 2022, the villagers of Tehri boycotted the assembly elections. A similar action was taken in Puri during the 2014 LS elections.
Villages are facing the threat of being vacated, due to which they can appeal to the Chief Minister as well. Some advocates, while revising the Wildlife Protection Act, question the endangered status of big cats given their population in Uttarakhand. But environmentalists warn against such measures.
The state government set up the country’s first Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Cell, allocated special funds to compensate affected families, and introduced a helpline number. But the situation remains critical. Devendra Rawat, husband of Gram Pradhan of Pasar village, said: “We have limited outdoor activities after sunset, and avoid solitary movement. But more action is urgently needed.” Residents of Pasar had boycotted the elections in 2022.
Recently, the state government increased the compensation for families of wildlife attack victims from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. “Farmers facing loss of indigenous livestock species will now get compensation,” said Chief Wildlife Warden Sameer Sinha, adding, “The current central compensation for deaths due to wildlife attacks is Rs 4 lakh. Now the state 2 lakh. Even if the Center increases the amount, we will continue to contribute an additional Rs 2 lakh.

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