Srinagar: Shaken by the killing of a five-year-old girl, wildlife authorities have issued a fresh list of dos’ and don’ts’ to ensure the safety of women and children as man-eater leopard remains at large in central Kashmir.
On Saturday, Adda Yasir Mir became the latest victim of the man-animal conflict. Her mutilated body was found in a nursery near her home at Ompora Housing Colony in Budgam district.
Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Ifshan Dewaan told The Kashmir Monitor that there is a confirmed leopard presence in the forest nursery at Ompora.
“It is advised that people follow some rules until we trace the animal. 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. Also, people should refrain from keeping any poultry at home as it becomes a major source of attraction for the leopard,” Deewan said.
Deewan maintained they have issued instructions for the immediate removal of fallen material and other cultural operations at Ompora forests and other risk areas in order to avoid any further loss of life and property in the area.
“Also, the staff has been deployed with machinery for the elimination of the leopard. Now the question remains why elimination? There is a provision under the wildlife protection act, 1972. There is a provision that if there is an emergency situation, and a serious threat to the human population, we can go for elimination,” Dewaan said.
She, however, said elimination will be the last option. “We will first try to capture the animal by tranquilizing it. If it happens, then only we rescue it properly,” Deewan said.
According to the official figures of the wildlife department six leopards have been rescued in Budgam district since last year.
It is worth mentioning that barely 24 hours after the killing of the girl, Wildlife Department officials along with police caught a leopard in Khudpora village of Khansahib in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday.
The wild animal was roaming in the residential areas of Khansahib locality and other adjoining areas posing a threat to the locals especially children, as per the officials.
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.