Some remarkable stories of tolerance to wildlife dwell in the families that reside in the forest fringes of Bandipur, and Mudappa’s is one of them. With the casual monotony of someone narrating menial happenings, he recalls the time he saw a leopard fretting in his backyard drag his domestic goat out of its shed. Over time, Mudappa has incurred losses worth Rs. 74,200 due to livestock predation and elephant raiding, but he does not seem to harbour any visible resentment towards wildlife. “Living so close to the forest, I face wildlife raiding my crops very often, but I tend not to retaliate that much. They are wild animals, we can not expect them to not move around.”
His village, Hadanur is less than three kilometres away from the forests of Bandipur and naturally, this has meant frequent dealings with wildlife, resulting in heavy losses for farmers in the area. Summer is a tough time for Mudappa because his mango harvest is often raided by elephants. He shared with us that filing for compensation used to be a hassle, with having to arrange logistics like travel or hiring a photographer for documentation. Sometimes the file would not reach the office, and on the rare occasion that compensation did reach him, it would be around Rs 100 or 200 – much lesser than the amount he had spent. He expresses relief over the quick and structured operation of the Wild Seve team. “The process is very organised now and has resulted in an increase in the amount of compensation received as well. I am glad that I do not have to spend time and money in filing for these documents myself as the team always arrives immediately after calling.” He has since called in 17 times to report crop losses and received Rs 7,370 in compensation, with more cases registered and pending.