The United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) has expressed its concern over the increasing attacks on humans by wild animals, especially in the Anamallais, Nilgiris and other plantation districts of Tamil Nadu. These hilly areas are largely covered by tea and coffee plantations over which thousands of workers and other inhabitants depend for survival. Besides posing danger to human life, the wild animals also often destroy crops.
It is evident from plantation experience that elephants largely target store rooms, residential buildings including plantation bungalows where they are able to salvage food. The geographically isolated location of plantations is posing greater threat to man and crops and UPASI said that the Government should bestow special attention to plantations.
From the plantations side the managements have taken several measures including awareness campaigns for protecting the workers and their families. However since the Government possesses and exercises overriding powers in matters relating to wild life protection, effective measures would largely depend on state intervention, UPASI observed.
The industry has come forward and welcomed the recent announcement of the Tamil Nadu government proposing to fund specific measures for minimising the effects of man-animal conflicts. UPASI requested that the industry be consulted and represented in discussions before declaring new corridors for the movement of wild animals, especially since the matter involves livelihood issues of large populations in hilly areas.