With harsh winters round the corner in the hilly region of neighboring Himachal Pradesh, the increasing visits of wild animals sketched out in the minds of villagers living in Dhar clock.
While poachers keep a tight vigil on the movement of these animals for hunting, the villager make arrangements to save their livestock and fields from the beasts, which often come down the hill during harsh winter there.
Though wild boars and jackals move up to the outskirts of Pathankot, leopards restrict their activities up to Dunera in Punjab. However, when the mercury dips below zero level in Dalhousie and Khajjiar, leopards take shelter in parts of the Pathankot forest, situated a few miles away from the city.
Last year, a leopard, which had barged into the Pathnkot forest, got stuck into the wires fencing laid down by the army. It was rescued by a wildlife team and was sent to Dehradun.
“We have sleepless nights during winter, as beasts spoil our standing maze and wheat crops in the night,” claimed Suresh Pathania, a farmer from the region.
“Though the forest department lays down some traps to grab the beasts, few traps in the large area are not a solution,” he added.
“If a leopard makes attacking our livestock his habit, it also poses a danger to our lives,” he added.
“Shrinking forest cover due to increasing construction of buildings is a major reason behind wild animals visiting the populated areas,” he pointed out.
Rajesh Mahajan, divisional forest officer (DFO), admitted that depleting forests was a big reason behind wild animals entering populated areas.
“Besides helping the villagers, the department has issued an advisory, asking them to be alert in the winter in view of increasing activities of wild animals in search of their prey,” he said.
“We are keeping a tight vigil on the poachers’ activities,” he said when asked about the measures being taken by the department to restrict poaching.