Srinagar: Seven local hunters have been engaged by the wildlife department to eliminate the ‘man-eating’ leopard in Budgam district of Central Kashmir.
A deep sense of fear was instilled among the locals after the leopard killed the 5-year-old Adda Yasir Mir from Ompora Housing Colony in Budgam district on June 4.
Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Ifshan Deewan told The Kashmir Monitor that efforts are on to trace the animal.
“Besides deploying extra staff with machinery, we have also hired the services of seven local hunters to eliminate the leopard,” Deewan said.
She noted that the area is being surveyed consistently and they have not been able to spot the animal so far.
“We are receiving numerous panic-driven calls from the locals. The situation demands that people should maintain calm by following the dos and don’ts religiously. Our men are at the job and we are trying our best. There is no need to panic,” Deewan said.
Earlier, the wildlife department had issued an advisory and listed do’s and don’ts for people to avoid the recurrence of such incidents in the area.
It highlighted that children and women are vulnerable to leopard attacks, which can be contained if they move in groups or children are accompanied by an elderly person especially in the morning or late evening hours.
“Livestock, poultry, and pets should be attended by three to four persons. Any type of bell or sound-producing device be put around the neck of cattle. They should also be kept in safe sheds before the onset of Dusk. Besides, provide sufficient light around your utilities and outside your home and do not dump kitchen waste around your houses as this invites stray dogs to the spot which in turn invite leopard movement,” reads the advisory issued by the wildlife department.
According to the official figures of the wildlife department six leopards have been rescued in Budgam district since last year.
Incidents of human-animal conflict have seen a surge in the valley. Human-wildlife conflict refers to an interaction between wild animals and people and resultant negative impact on people or their resources, or wild animals or their habitat. Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) occurs when wildlife requirements overlap with those of human populations, creating costs both to residents and wild animals.
Wildlife Department figures accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that man versus animal conflict has claimed the lives of 32 persons since 2017. Similarly, 498 persons have got injured in the last four years in the region.