The Kerala High Court has called upon the governments of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, which share forested borders, to coordinate efforts in addressing the escalating problem of human-wildlife conflicts.
The bench, comprising Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Gopinath P was presiding over a suo motu case regarding the matter when it was informed about an incident involving a Wayanad resident being attacked by an elephant within the vicinity of his home. This elephant was reportedly collared by forest authorities in Karnataka.
Therefore, the bench emphasized the need for "purposeful cooperation" among the states to uphold the constitutional guarantees provided to all citizens, regardless of their place of residence.
“State borders exist only for the human population and not for the animals who roam freely through the forests adjacent to human settlements in all the three States. The hapless human victims of such conflicts, however, suffer alike, whether they are situated within the geographical bounds of one or the other State” said the Court.
The bench instructed the Additional Chief Secretary of the General Administration Department, Government of Kerala, to provide a detailed plan outlining short-term measures to prevent wild animals from encroaching into human settlements in Wayanad District. The bench further specified that this plan should be implemented within one month, alongside the formulation of long-term strategies to be executed gradually in phases.
The court remarked that “asking them to wait any longer for a reprieve through state action would tantamount to making a mockery of their fundamental right to life and livelihood”.
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