Can A Just Urban Ecology Exist?

Image courtesy: Murthy Kantimahanti
Indian cities are home to many species - from deer to leopards and peacocks. But is the urban ecology a safe space for wildlife?

At the end of October, 2016, fireworks from Diwali celebrations combined with existing pollution choked the city of Delhi with smog. Flights from the city’s airport were delayed or cancelled, but nobody warned the city’s birds to be wary - a peacock flying into the city from a nearby forest crashed into a window and injured itself in the blind haze. Nearby in Gurgaon, dog owners found their pets wheezing and teary-eyed from the smoke.

There are many ways in which humans and animals come into conflict. We choke them out of their habitats, strike them with our cars, sterilize, shoot and set them on fire – all out of an unwillingness to co-exist peacefully. A graphic video from 2016 shows a leopard trapped in a cage, and set alight by villagers.

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