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Wildlife conflict peaks in J&K

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

india Updated: Jan 19, 2007 21:14 IST
Arun Joshi

Wildlife-man conflict haspeaked in Jammu and Kashmir. Twenty-four people, mostly children, were killed byleopards and in retaliatory action men have killed four wild animals.

The conflict isthreatening to escalate as the State'sWild Life Department is havingno resources toavert the conflict. It has one tranquiliser gun, one trapping cage andit usesits publicity van to lift the wild animals.

Leopardsand 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 wildanimals have started moving into the inhabited areastoo often.

The ghastly ugly manifestationof wildlife intrusionwasseen when the wild animalsintruded into the inhabited areas andwaylaid unsuspecting people.The children were the worst victims.

Angered over this killing of children and theman eatingby predators, the villagers have gone in for retaliatory killings. Themen have killed oneleopard in Shopian.

Two days ago, villagers killedaleopard in Shopian area in South Kashmir. The big cat was sighted andstoned to death as the people feared that the leopard would harm them and their children. And aleopard that has killed three children in Anantnag districtin 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 thatthe 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 cannothelp matterswhen 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 thathis ministry is going toask for all these things, so that the conflict between the two sides could be averted.

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First Published: Jan 19, 2007 21:14 IST