- Saturday, 24 November 2012 16:04
- PNS | Dehradun
In order to mitigate the rising human-leopard conflict in Uttarakhand, the State Forest Department has proposed building water holes and increasing fodder in affected areas to attract the wild herbivores which constitute the natural prey base of the leopard. It is worth mentioning here that since October this year at least seven people have been killed by leopards while three leopards have been killed and one captured by the department after being declared man-eaters.
Though human leopard conflict is not new to Uttarakhand, the problem has been rising since the formation of the State and resulting developments. The forest department has had plans for some years now to tackle the rising human-wildlife conflict. However, wildlife activists point out that the department has done little more than drafting and discussing plans while the conflict situation has continued to deteriorate.
Talking to The Pioneer, the State chief wildlife warden SS Sharma said that the department has various measures either planned or proposed to mitigate the conflict between human and the spotted cat. “We have proposed to build water holes and encourage an increase in fodder so that deer and other herbivores are attracted to such places. By boosting the presence of the natural prey base of the leopard, we believe the big cat will avoid human settlements which will make life safer for both the villagers and their cattle. In addition to this we are raising public awareness in areas experiencing the conflict. We are telling the people to not venture outdoors alone in dark hours but to move in at least small groups and to remain alert outdoors,” said Sharma.
Widlife activists also point out that the human-leopard conflict is not only creating problems for the humans but is also a major factor responsible for the poaching of the feline. They point out that the department’s drafting of plans has not helped either the humans or the leopards in Uttarakhand with at least 25 leopard pelt seizures in this year apart from which 52 leopard deaths have also been recorded in 2012 so far. Since creation of Uttarakhand in 2000, more than 200 people while more than 600 leopard deaths from different causes have been recorded.