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Animal- human conflict
For candidates in areas bordering forests in Karnataka, the election is not so much about roads and electricity as it is about stopping wild elephants in their tracks.
And not just the jumbos, rising human-animal conflicts in the state means blackbucks, leopards, monkeys and even crocodiles are turning into poll issues.
At Sakleshpur in Hassan district recently, candidates of various parties were countered by voters even before they could start on their development promises. “We want these candidates to come up with a concrete plan for dealing with the elephant menace. We are witnessing deaths every week. Our women and children are scared to step out once it’s dark,” said Pranav K, a local.
Some 250km away, blackbucks are a cause of concern for voters in Ranebennur in Davanagere district. “The state’s largest blackbuck reserve is in the constituency. Deprived of fodder due to shrinking grasslands, these antelopes invade agricultural fields, resulting in huge crop losses to us,” said Paramesh NM, a farmer.
Leopards are a threat in many parts of the state, including in Bengaluru Rural, Mysuru, Mandya and Tumakuru districts. Chitradurga and Tumakuru also face bear attacks while news of crocodiles emerging from riverbeds and entering agricultural fields is common in districts of Belagavi, Vijayapura and Bagalkot in North Karnataka.
As many as 149 people have been killed by wild animals in the past three years in the state.