The three-and-a-half-year-old male leopard that strayed into mustard fields near Malaka village of Tauru, 40 kms from Gurgaon, on December 28, and rescued by a team of forest and police officials was released into the wild on Tuesday.
After being rescued, the leopard was sent to a veterinary hospital in Rohtak district where the doctors looked after it. A doctor said the leopard is now healthy to survive in the forest.
“The leopard, a healthy male, was given proper treatment at the government hospital. Now, it has recovered and released into the wild,” MD Sihna, conservator of forest, south Haryana, said.
As the leopard was ill and sustained minor injuries during the capture, wildlife officials kept it under observation for a week. “Under normal conditions, any captured wild animal has to be kept under observation for 48 hours,” Ashok Sharma, a veterinary doctor, said.
The leopard was released in the Aravallis. However, the exact location and the time will not be disclosed, Sinha said.
“As the leopard was found fit to survive in its natural environment, we released it on Tuesday. As the number of man-animal conflicts has increased in the region, we are taking precautionary measures by not providing the location of release,” he said.
The rescue operation assumed importance as a leopard was beaten to death by the villagers of Mandawar after it strayed into the area on Noember 24. A dozen villagers were allegedly injured during a three-hour hunt. The two-and-a-half-year-old male leopard was killed in the presence of forest and police officials who were not equipped to rescue the big cat.
However, during the incident on December 28, officials reached the spot with a tranquilliser gun and nets to rescue the animal.
Padam Prakash, additional principal chief conservator of wildlife, Haryana forest department, said, “Any wild animal that strays into human habitation is not a threat to human beings. People have to understand this. We will be constructing wildlife corridors in the Aravallis to protect animals. We will also sensitise people in the Aravallis villages regarding the habits and movements of wildlife.”
Malaka residents unhappy with leopard’s release
Meanwhile, residents of Malaka village of Tauru expressed their unhappiness with the forest department for releasing the leopard rescued from their village back in the wild.
While it has been almost a week since the leopard spotted by the villagers was rescued by the forest and the police department from their mustard fields, Malaka residents said they are still living in fear.
“Releasing the wild animal is not a good decision. It might enter the village again,” said Mohammad Khalid, a panchayat member from the village.
Other villagers said the leopard had destroyed their crop when it had entered the village and they are yet to get compensation from the state government.
“We are living in constant fear of the leopard. Women have stopped going to fetch water from the village pond after dark as they are afraid the leopard might attack them,” said Deena Lal, a villager.
Villagers said they are also not allowing their children to play outside. “For our own safety, we should at least know where the leopard has been released,” said Hardeep Singh, another village resident.
“Last time, the leopard only destroyed our crops as we had spotted it soon after it entered into the village. As the animal has now been released, it might return to the village again. This time it might attack us,” said Bhagmal Singh, another Malaka resident.
Other villagers too said they need protection from wild animals. “We had spotted the leopard for the first time, but we think it used to visit the village earlier as well. There were a number of instances in which we lost our pigs and dogs,” said Jagmal Lal, a local.
Stressing that they are not equipped to deal with a wild animal, they said the government should take necessary steps to keep wildlife away from human habitation. “As the area is close to the Aravallis, the animal might stray into the village. We have been unable to lead a normal life for the last one week. The government should fence the forest areas so that wildlife does not wander off into the village,” he added.