A team of Madhya Pradesh forest department has caught a poacher with four leopard paws in Seoni district, which were likely to be used in some tantric ritual.
Acting on a tip-off, district forest officer (south) Tomar Singh Sulia said they caught Namdeo Parikar while he was travelling from Balaghat to Seoni in a bus on Thursday.
“Our team intercepted the bus between Seoni and Barghat and recovered four leopard paws from Namdeo, a resident of Seoni. During questioning, he revealed that the leopard paws were handed over to him by Hem Singh Kawri in Balaghat. He also told us that he had met this Kawri in Balaghat,” he said.
Sulia said Balaghat and Seoni forest officials jointly conducted a search operation in Balaghat to trace Kawri, but he has probably escaped.
“We will continue our search to trace Kawri to get further leads in this case. We have to find whether this is part of some poaching network. These paws (leopard claws) are generally were by some locals in some tantric rituals”, he said. Sulia said Namdeo was produced before the court on Friday.
Seoni-based wildlife conservationist Imran Khan said both tiger and leopard claws were used by some locals for tantric rituals to get wealthy and feel powerful.
“Some people also wear claws as there is this notion that wearing them increases power in a person,” he said.
The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is a leopard subspecies widely distributed in the subcontinent and has been classified as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2008.
Apart from becoming victims of poaching, retaliatory killing and conflicts with farmers, leopards are also getting killed in the road hits in MP. Shrinking and fragmentation of leopard habitat and growing population are leading to a surge in the leopard-man conflict in the state, which in turn increases the chances of retaliatory killings.
Wildlife experts said though among the four ‘big cats’, leopards are less likely to become man-eaters, they tolerate proximity to humans better than lions and tigers and often come into conflict with humans when raiding livestock.
PAST LEOPARD DEATHS
2011, July 31: A leopard drowns in well in Barwani district after attacking and injured five villagers.
2011, March 22: Farmers in Vidisha district beat up a leopard to death, after it attacked a farmer
2014, Sep 25: A leopard hit by a speeding vehicle in Raisen district.
2014, Dec 9: Body of a leopard with trap injury marks on its waist and neck found in Chhatarpur district.
2015, Jan 12: A female leopard found dead in the forest area of Lateri in Vidisha district.
2016, March 29: A leopard dies in Damoh district after it is freed from a wire-trap by a rescue team from Panna national park and tranquilized.
2016, January 9: A leopard trapped in a wire trap in Chhatarpur district and rescued by rescue team from Panna National Park dies while it was being taken to Panna.