A forest team was sent to scan the area near Damdama lake on Tuesday night after villagers reported that they spotted a leopard there. But officials said they found nothing at the spot and will thoroughly search the area as incidents of man-animal conflict were on the rise of late.
“A five-member team rushed to the spot as soon as we got a call from villagers about a leopard being sighted. A combing operation was carried out for two hours but nothing was found. It is a dense forest area and has a big water body, the Damdama lake. As a result, the wildlife tends to come to the lake for water,” MD Sinha, conservator of forests, South Haryana.
The forest officials also said since the area is part of the Aravallis, sightings of wildlife are not unusual. The area has camera traps which the officials will check to verify the claims.
Soon, the villagers will be part of awareness campaign which will be launched by the forest department to inform people about the dos and don’ts when they spot a wild animal in their area.
As the area has a number of villages, it is not possible to fence the entire stretch, the officials said when asked about the measures being taken to avoid any untoward situation.
“Wild animals do not enter human territory to attack anyone. They come out of their natural habitat as they are unable to cope with the disturbances caused by mining and also owing to lack of water during summer,” said Sinha.
He said the best option to avoid any critical incident is to sensitise the villagers about the wildlife in the region and formulate a plan for peaceful coexistence.
A two-and-half-year-old leopard was killed last November in Mandawar village after it strayed into the human habitat.
However, the villagers of Mandawar said since that incident, they are unable to return to their normal lives. The current sighting has also created panic among villagers.
Surender Shastri, a resident of Mandawar, said, “We have also informed the forest officials that our animals are missing and that we suspect that there is a leopard on the prowl.”