Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Uttarakhand Lost more than 300 Leopards since 2008

Written by Anil Singh

People who had spent their childhood in Uttarakhand hills or who are still living in some hill village know that, the predator most feared by the inhabitants is not the tiger, but the leopard. Leopard (called Tendua is Hindi) is a predator from the cat family, much smaller in size than tiger, and sports black spots on pale yellow coat.

The fact that a leopard often kills a dog guarding the goats and cows of the villagers; hence leopards in Uttarakhand hills are often referred to as “Kutiya Bagh” or when translated means “A Tiger which kills Dogs”.

But, the local name given to the leopards is a misnomer. As even though it preys on dogs and domesticated animals; whenever the need or the situation be, it also attacks humans. Being smaller in size than the Himalayan tiger, leopards mostly attack women and children.

The above man animal conflict is going on for years; and in recent times the leopard appears to be losing the war.

In the last one year Uttarakhand lost not only 19 tigers, but as many as 106 leopards, including two cubs, have also been killed, reports the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Expressing its concern on the large number of killing of felines in Uttarakhand this year, the Society fears that at the present rate of killing the animal could be lost forever in the forests of Uttarakhand.

Who killed the leopards?

According to the data as many as 57 leopards were killed by poachers, 19 died of old age or sickness, 7 were killed in accidents, 6 were killed by the forest department after being declared man eaters, 6 died during rescue operations, 6 died in territorial fights, 3 were killed by other animals and the carcass of 2 cubs were found.

Those leopards killed by people by poisoning, as revenge killing, are assumed to go unaccounted for, for obvious reasons.

But leopards in the state are increasingly being killed: Although no data is available for 2010, 85 were killed in 2009 and 53 in 2008.

Reasons for leopard deaths:

Wildlife experts here claim that the shrinking of forest, continued pressure on forest by humans and reduction in the herbivore population in the forests are forcing the leopards to look elsewhere for food ( hence they are entering human habitats, resulting in increasing the man-animal conflict).

0 constructive comments: