The division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh took note of recent cases where several leopards were termed maneaters, and prohibited "killing of all wild animals by declaring them man-eaters" and prevented "display of dead bodies (sic) of animals in print and electronic media."
"The wild animal who pose threat to human life should be captured alive by using tranquilizer gun in the presence of a veterinary doctor and shall be thereafter released in nearby forest," the high court said.
Whether an animal is a threat to a human being will be decided at the highest level by a committee, including principal secretary (forest) and principle chief conservator of forest, the court said.
Several wildlife have been killed by wildlife and government officials after dubbing the animal a "man-eater." The efforts to capture the animal comprises hundreds of men and costs lakhs. Uttarkhand categorises an animal as a "man-eater" after it attacks a human or enters human settlements. However, there is no process for the designation.
The state government will not be permitted to engage private hunters to cull animals and encroachers on forest land will be evicted in a year, the court said. It also directed the Centre to formulate a national forest policy for better forest management.
It also ordered a 10-km eco-sensitive zone around the Corbett Tiger Reserve and other protected areas in Uttarakhand, the Hindustan Times reported. It also directed the railways to dig trenches near tracks and insulate electric poles with fences to avoid electrocution of animals.
It also called for exemplary punishment like life imprisonment for poachers and asked the administration to appoint 10,000 fire watchers to avoid forest fires in the future.
Over 140 predators, mainly leopards, have been designated as man-eaters in the last 15 years in Uttarakhand, according to state officials. The man-animal conflict has become dire in the state with more human settlements encroaching on forest land and reducing space for the wildlife.
Categorising an animal as "man-eater" comes from the British era practice in the state that also includes famed hunter Jim Corbett being called in to kill those animals attacking human settlements.