NEW DELHI: Endangered elephants and tigers are killing one person a day in India as humans put a growing squeeze on their habitat, according to new government figures.
But man is, in turn, killing a leopard a day as the man-animal tussle for space reaches new heights.
India has lost vast swathes of forests to urbanization in recent decades, forcing animals into human-occupied zones.
According to the environment ministry, 1,144 people were killed in attacks across India in 1,143 days between April 2014 and May this year.
And there is no sign of the toll being cut.
The ministry said 345 tigers and 84 elephants were killed in the same period, mostly in poacher attacks. Elephants are targeted for their tusks.
Siddhanta Das, the ministry’s director general of forests, said human encroachment into animal territory was causing the deaths.
“We are running awareness campaigns to minimize the casualties,” Das told AFP.
Elephants accounted for 1,052 human deaths and Tigers 92, according to the figures released to Parliament last week.
West Bengal state accounted for more than a quarter of deaths. The eastern state has nearly 800 elephants and is also home to famed Bengal tigers.
Last year a herd of wild elephants went on an hours-long rampage in West Bengal, killing five people and damaging vehicles and homes before being subdued with tranquilizer darts.
But tensions are also mounting elsewhere across the country. An elephant trampled to death four people, including a 12-year-old girl, in a village in southern Tamil Nadu state in June.