Shooters called in to kill ‘man-eater’ leopard in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar
The administration in Haldwani district has called for the services of shooters after a leopard, believed to be behind several attacks on humans, was spotted on Sunday in a village in Bageshwar.
Officials of the forest department said a team of shooters adept at hunting down animals declared “man-eaters” was being sent from Almora to Bageshwar. The shooters will take guard on Tuesday to track down the leopard, which residents of Dhyanagan village say had killed a 7-year-old boy and had also chased a 15-year-old who died from the jump he took in panic.
Bageshwar MLA Chandan Ram Das had toured the village earlier and demanded that the leopard be killed.
On Saturday, the forest department declared the leopard a “man-eater”, and ordered for its killing. The leopard was again spotted in the village on Sunday, found sitting on a tree for a while.
Human-animal conflict has remained a pressing issue in Bageshwar and Ramnagar areas, and has attracted special attention in the wake of the upcoming urban local body elections. Demonstrations were held in Bhimtal city late last month over the increasing menace caused by monkeys, while there have reports of elephants being caught in the crossfires over raiding of crops and entering human settlements.
On Saturday, an elephant had entered the National Highway 121 at Ringoda in Ramnagar, causing panic among the commuters and disrupting the traffic. The animal had to be scared away by the forest department employees who fired shots in the air and burst crackers.
Since 2007, at least 600 people have lost their lives in attacks by wild animals in Uttarakhand, while as many as 3,100 people have reported receiving injuries in such attacks. Official records show 166 leopards and 16 tigers have been declared man-eaters in the past 15 years.
Ramnagar MLA Diwan Singh Bisht said he has asked the district administration to take measures to avoid such conflicts through increased patrolling in areas surrounding the forests.
“The district administration is in touch with the forest department over the increasing incidents of wild animals entering human settlements,” Nainital district magistrate Vinod Kumar Suman said.
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