Water scarcity in forest areas leads to spike in well-rescue calls 

As the forest areas with significant wildlife presence are experiencing water scarcity this year, it is leading to an increase in human-wildlife conflict in terms of wild animals coming closer to human habitats. In April, wildlife NGOs and activists are getting more calls about wild animals falling into wells as animals seem to be wandering in search of water and accidentally falling into the wells.  

Most of the wells in the rural areas are open wells with no protection like a net. Hence the animals keep falling into these wells. (HT PHOTO)

The summer season is generally considered a crucial period concerning human-wildlife conflict. In Pune, forest officials and NGOs working for wildlife conservation often see that the conflict increases during this period as wild animals come out from the forest areas in search of water. This leads to various conflict situations including animals falling into wells, road accidents, injuries, wildlife attacks on humans and livestock in human settlements, etc.  

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This year a major part of Pune district is suffering from water scarcity as the district received less rainfall. As the water bodies from forest areas started drying up earlier in February- March, wild animals started migrating outside the forest areas-ultimately resulting in the conflict situation.  

Gayatri Rajgurav-Awadhani, co-founder of Eco Rescue Daund, a non-governmental organization (NGO) said, “In April our team rescued at least 6-7 peacocks, 3 Blackbuck, and 7 wolves from areas like Baramati, Daund, Imdapur, and Faltan. While the other animals keep travelling, peacocks, who otherwise prefer staying in deep forests or hilly areas, especially migrate during this summer season. Most of the wells in the above areas are open wells with no protection like a net. Hence the animals keep falling into these wells.”  

“Water bodies have dried up in the forest areas and animals are forced to wander into human settlements. Although the department is trying its best to provide adequate water to the water holes built by the forest department, it is practically impossible to cover the entire forest region. We often find animals stuck in wells or other water bodies and have to rescue them. Our teams are on standby to help in such situations,” said Mahadev Mohite, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Pune Forest Division.  

In areas like Baramati, Indapur, and Daund seeing an increase in well-related rescue calls, in Junnar such calls seem to be decreased. Mahendra Dhore, Manager, of Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) said,” We generally receive several calls from nearby villages for well-related rescue, but surprisingly in the last two months there haven’t been any calls received by the centre. “  

“In areas like Baramati, Daund, and Indapur, the wildlife presence is significant hence people should follow safety precautions for both humans as well as wild animals. We often hold awareness programs to tell people why it is necessary to build a boundary wall along the well and why it should be closed with the help of the net or any other things so that it will prevent animals from falling into the well,” said Gayatri Rajgurav-Awdhani. 

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