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Snow makes Himachal villages prone to leopard attacks; over a dozen incidents since Jan 1

In the last one month, more than a dozen leopard attacks have been reported in the state, said a forest official.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2018 11:58 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Snow,Himachal villages,leopard attacks
Frequent leopard attacks have created panic in the village. The scare is more among the women and children. (HT Photo)

Snowfall in high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh has made villages prone to leopard attacks. Leopards descend to the lower hills in winter in search of prey. In the past five years, leopards have attacked 110 humans and killed nine of them.

The wildlife wing has paid Rs 22 lakh as compensation to families of those killed, says principal chief conservator of forest wildlife department RC Kang. More attacks are reported from Kullu and Rampur Bushar. The wildlife wing of the forest department will conduct a survey to ascertain the number of leopards. In the last survey in 2004, there were 785 leopards, including 24 in captivity.

“During the winters, animals are in non breeding stage and usually migrate to lower elevation areas. Similar is the case with the leopards as they migrate in search of food,” said Dr Sandeep Rattan, wildlife veterinarian.

In the last one month, more than a dozen leopard attacks have been reported in the state, said a forest official.

Leopards are repeatedly cited by drivers and travellers in the capital town’s peripheral areas, including Tutti Kandi and Jutogh.

In the past five years, leopards have attacked 110 humans, killing nine; the wildlife wing has paid Rs 22 lakh as compensation to families of those killed in the attacks.

Recently, a leopard killed a mule in Barchana village near Kullu town. “I had tied my mule in the cowshed, suddenly I heard the mule braying loudly. We rushed to the shed and saw a leopard preying on her, we raised alarm fearing which the leopard fled the village,” said Hemsingh, a villager.

Similarly, villagers also cited a leopard in the Peej village. “I have asked the forest department to compensate the mule owner,” said Bhubhesnehwar, Peej sarpanch.

Frequent leopard attacks have created panic in the village. The scare is more among the women and children. During the evening hours, women folks walk in groups, he added.

Seminars to reduce the man-animal conflict

In the wake of increasing leopard attacks, the wildlife wing of the forest department has been holding the seminars in the areas which are more prone to these attacks.

“So far we have held seminars in the three forest divisions, we intend to hold seminars in almost all the forest divisions to educate field staff to reduce the man-animal conflict. Besides this, we apprise the forest staff about the dos and don’ts for the villages that are more prone to leopard attacks,” said Rattan.

Survey to ascertain number of leopards

The wildlife wing of the forest department has decided to conduct a statewide survey to ascertain the number of leopards. A study held in 2016, stated that leopard attacks are more prominent in Hamirpur, Mandi and Bilaspur districts. Furthermore, leopards have not only attacked humans living close to protected areas, but also outside forest areas.

The forest department has so far conducted the leopard survey in five of the forest divisions, including Una, Hamirpur, Dehra, Nurpur and Nalagarh.

Leopard attack

In the past five years, leopards have attacked 110 humans and killed nine of them. The wildlife wing has paid Rs 22 lakh as compensation to families of those killed in the attacks.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 11:57 IST