Leopards wreak havoc in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon
Leopards are creating terror in many parts of Kumaon, Uttarakhand, these days, underlining the need to take man-animal conflict more seriously.
“Big cats, mostly leopards, find good hideouts near residential areas due to abundant growth of bushes. Their movements are more frequent from July to October,” said Tanuja Parihar, ranger, Bhakhra range of forest in Nainital. A leopard with two cubs was noticed here recently.
In US Nagar’s Jaspur, a female leopard injured around six persons in a fortnight in Patrampur village. Camera traps and a cage have been installed there.
Anil Chauhan, forest officer, Patrampur forest range, said, “The female leopard is moving in the area with her cubs. A few days ago, a biker hit her cub accidentally. Since then, it has become aggressive. We have installed a cage to trap the leopard.”
Leopards have been striking Kafaligair, Baset and Tunod villages in Bageshwar. According to Baset village head Devaki Devi, leopards stroll in broad daylight in the village, forcing people inside their homes.
In Nainital, Pithoragarh and Almora, they are entering urban areas of the district headquarters for dogs as prey. Their movement has been caught on CCTV. In Pithoragarh, they are being spotted in pairs in more than five villages adjoining the district headquarters.
“Our teams are patrolling leopard’s infested areas. Also, we are making aware people of rural as well as urban areas to take precautions to avoid attack.”
A leopard was trapped in a cage installed by forest officials in Matena village under Hawalbag block in Almora on Tuesday. It had attacked and injured a minor girl last week.
Mohan Ram Arya, ranger of the area, said, “The leopard is an 8-year-old male and healthy. It has been sent to a rescue centre in Almora and will be released in new habitat soon.”
Over 400 people have been killed in leopard attacks in the state since it as formed in 2000. Human deaths in leopard attacks account for nearly half of the total deaths due to wild animals in the state, reveals the data of the state forest department. Wildlife experts say there are many factors due to which it has been difficult to check man-leopard conflict in the state, be it the hilly terrain which provides ample space to leopards to hide to human settlements scattered in hills overlapping leopard territories.
In July this year, Uttarakhand forest department released instructions for checking and dealing with the man-leopard conflict in the Himalayan state. The directions issued stated that quick response teams be deployed in such areas by the officials concerned where leopard movement is spotted and leopard attacks are being reported.