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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Disturbances in the natural habitat of animals around Guwahati is story of every city and town

TV Channels are full of coverage about animals entering human area putting in danger both parties.

Guwahati, which has been called the Gateway of North-east India is the capital city of the state of Assam. Many people would be surprised to learn that Guwahati is almost three times the size of Kolkata. It is, according to a survey, the 5th in a list of the fastest-growing cities in India, and ranks among the top 100 in a similar list for the entire globe. It is expected that in a few years, the city will reach about double its present size.

Now, though all this development bodes well for the economy, the ecology is another matter altogether. The worsening in the state of the ecosystem is apparent in a recent news items, which tell of how wild animals have been entering the city and attacking the people. This has resulted in serious injuries and some attacks have even proved fatal.

These confrontations between human beings and animals are by no means unheard of in other areas of the country, or for that matter, even the world. Balancing between development and protection of natural resources is a difficult task, and we seem to have done poorly at it.

As we encroach upon the homes of wild animals, we only risk more such unfortunate events. The animals first attack settlements, and then, in rage, human beings set out to seek revenge, hurting the animals, making them all the more dangerous.

What is needed is the creation of buffer zones, where there is some forest cover so that animals do not come in direct contact with human beings, and human beings can carry on the part of their livelihood which depends on the forest and natural resources. Also, corridors of unspoilt forest land should be created between adjacent settlements, so that the animals are not forced to enter human habitations, which is what is happening now.

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