Wildlife encroachment into urban territories increasing

Tanden Zangmo/ Thimphu

Wildlife encroaching human habitation is increasing every year according to a report maintained by the Wildlife Rescue and Animal Health Section (WRAHS) at Taba, Thimphu.

Last year there were 80 incidents of wildlife being rescued from human habitation according to the report. This year, as of October, there were already been 115 incidents of wildlife encroaching into urban territories and coming into direct confrontation with humans.

Barking deer, Sambar, Wild elephant, Leopard Cat, Gaur, Takin, Black Bear, Crocodile, Gharials, Monal pheasant, Owl, Wild pig, Musk deer, Eagle, Serow, Snow Leopard, Goral, Night Heron, Clouded leopard are some of the wildlife species the center rescued this year.

According to the Center’s senior forest ranger, Tshencho Tshering, Barking Deer and Sambar dominate the list of rescued animals with 19 and 22 incidences respectively.

The report also shows that the Himalayan Black Bear is increasingly appearing in the human domain. This year alone about 15 Black bears were rescued of which nine were released in the wild. Of the remaining six kept in the rehabilitation center, two were later found dead and four was released after treatment.

Four Takin were radio colored and introduced to Sakteng wildlife Sanctuary and about eight crocodiles and 15 Gharials were relocated to Gelephug Wildlife Rescue Center.

The rescue team also rescued one wild elephant, four Leopard Cat, two Gaur, one Monal Pheasant, 12 Owls, one wild pig, one musk deer, one eagle, two Serow, two Snow leopard, two Goral, two Night heron and one Clouded leopard.

The Clouded leopard is rarely found trespassing into human domain and most of the wildlife rescued and trans-located to Animal rehabilitation centers are those abandoned by their mothers, sick and solitary.

Prey species like barking deer and others stray into human settlements to escape their predators but end-up in vicinities filled with far greater threats according to rescue officials.

The wild animals reported to have come in conflict sustained various injuries. According to the report the injuries included cuts, bites and wounds on thigh, back, tail neck and other parts of the body. The intensity of injuries also included head damage, laceration, broken leg, dislodged horn among others. Of the 115 rescue attempts this year 22 died from the severity of the injuries and stress.

Few died even after a desperate effort to save with medication while one breathed its last during transportation. Majority died shortly after rescue.

Wildlife rescued die more from the stress of coming in contact with humans than from injuries according to the report.

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