The Forest Department of Bageshwar in Uttarakhand had requested the Chamoli District Collector to deploy a hunter to kill or tranquillize a leopard that is believed to have attacked several humans in Dhangar village. The letter has urged the district magistrate to probe this issue.
Leopard Attacks In Bageshwar
Bageshwar is prone to leopard attacks because of increasing man-animal conflict. A leopard attacked a four-year-old girl on September 3 and police could only recover her body after two hours. There was another instance when an injured leopard attacked a man during the rescue operation. Another 15-year-old boy jumped to his death when the leopard chased him. Bageshwar MLA Chandan Ram Das had toured the village earlier and demanded that the leopard is killed, reported Hindustan Times.
The residents were angered at the repeated incident of attacks and lit the forest on fire along with the cries ‘kill the beast’. Fortunately, the fire didn’t engulf the whole 25 hectares of the forest due to the damp climate after rains.
The forest department decided to deploy the famous shooter Lakhpat Singh Rawat, who was also a teacher by profession. Ravindra Sinha said that traps have been set to cage the animal and also to hunt down the eater. Rawat has killed 47 leopards and two tigers earlier as part of his shooting profession.
Let Avni Live
The hiring of a shooter to hunt down the animal has a resemblance to the recent killing of Avni, the tigress from the Yavatmal region of Maharashtra, who was accused of 13 human-killings over the past two years. After nearly three months of launching a search operation, the tigress was cornered and shot dead on November 2. Avni’s death has invited the wrath of citizens and animal rights activists, who are questioning the ruthless endangerment of the national animal of our country.
Another tigress was killed during the same time by angry locals in Uttar Pradesh’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. The tigress was said to have injured a man from the nearby village. On November 4, the locals beat up forest guards and took away their sticks. They then ran over the tigress with a tractor and beat it with sticks until it bled out and died.
On social media platforms, activist voiced their concern over the inefficiency of the officials to rehabilitate the leopard before it turned to be a man-eater. Wildlife activists claim that killing the animal could not be a solution to end the conflict.
The Logical Indian Take
India’s growing population has confined wildlife to the ever-shrinking forests and grasslands. Reports have come out which show that between the years 2014-2017, one person lost his/her life every day because of the man-animal conflict.
The growth of human settlement is considered an economic development, but it is the animals who are paying a heavy price as they are competing with humans for food and shelter. Wildlife experts have said that territorial animals lack space within reserves and their prey also lack enough fodder to survive on. This forces wild animals to move out and venture close to human habitations in search of food.
We have started to change the natural wildlife ecosystem and started habitation in wildlife areas. It is us who are encroaching on their land and taking away their livelihood. They are animals and they don’t know any better. They depend on their natural instincts to survive. They should not be killed for trying to cling on to life. It is us who are killing them. There needs to be more awareness about man-animal conflict and villagers should be taught to handle such situations and not kill the animal altogether. We hope Avni is the last animal to die because it tried to survive.