Kalpetta: With soaring heat and wildfires ravaging jungle zones, the animals are out in human habitats in search of water and fodder, intensifying the man-animal conflict.
Many forest ranges of Wayanad wildlife sanctuary had witnessed massive wildfires as a result of friction between forest staff and farmers due to the failure of the forest department in ending the recurring wildlife raids into farm fields.
As the water resources dry up fast in WWS and the number of animals increases due to migration from adjacent sanctuaries, the forest department is in a tight spot.
"The water resources have thinned out and there is a high scarcity of fodder in the jungle," said N. Badusha of Wayanad Prakrithi Samraskhana Samithy. "The existing animals have a regular zone to source fodder and water but the migrated animals enter human habitats which may intensify the man-animal conflict in the district," he pointed out.
Among the migrating animals, the number of Asiatic elephants is high. Most of the elephants are disturbed with the extreme heat as they have no sweat glands.
The high volume of vehicles crisscrossing the tourism area of the sanctuary would add to the tense situation in the wildlife zones due to lack of sufficient water.
What is worrying the forest officials is the fact that this year the drought as well as massive wildfires in adjacent wildlife zones had dried up early.