Wildlife conflict peaks in J&K

None | ByArun Joshi, Jammu
Jan 19, 2007 09:14 PM IST

Twenty-four people, mostly children, were killed by leopards and in retaliatory action men have killed four wild animals, reports Arun Joshi.

Wildlife-man conflict has peaked in Jammu and Kashmir. Twenty-four people, mostly children, were killed by leopards and in retaliatory action men have killed  four wild animals.

The conflict is threatening to escalate as the State's Wild Life Department is  having no resources to avert the conflict. It has one tranquiliser gun, one  trapping cage and it uses its publicity van to lift the wild animals.

Leopards and bears have played havoc in the villages in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kupwara, Rajouri , Doda districts and in some of the places people are living in  constant fear of getting waylaid by the wild animals. The wild animals have started moving into the inhabited areas too often.

The ghastly ugly manifestation of wildlife intrusion was seen when the wild  animals intruded into the inhabited areas and waylaid unsuspecting people. The children were the worst victims.

Angered over this killing of children and the man eating by predators, the villagers have gone in for retaliatory killings. The men have killed one leopard in Shopian.

Two days ago, villagers killed a leopard in Shopian area in South Kashmir. The big cat was sighted and stoned to death as the people feared that the leopard would harm them and their children. And a leopard that has killed three children in Anantnag district in south Kashmir is still at large. He drags his victims, kills them, eats their flesh and leaves behind their mangled bodies in jungles.

Minister for Wild Life Qazi Mohammad Afzal told Hindustan Times that the people were genuinely angry when the big cat started killing their children. "The wildlife is protected as long as it remains within wildlife sanctuaries," he said. "We cannot help matters when wild animals kill people. They have killed 24 people. We can understand the anger of the villagers."

"The Wildlife department is without any means. We don't have means to tranquilise them, nor do we have trapping cages and special vans. How do we do it," he asked.

The Minister said that his ministry is going to ask for all these things, so that the conflict between the two sides could be averted.

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

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