SRINAGAR: Eleven days after she devoured a five-year-old girl at Ompora, the female leopard was finally caught alive near Deputy Commissioner Office at Budgam.
On June 3, Adda Yasir Mir, hailing from the Ompora Housing colony of Budgam district, was riding her bicycle on the lawn of her house when the family was shaken by a sharp scream.
Weighing around 80 kilograms, the female leopard took away the girl and devoured her in the nearby nursery. Her remains were recovered on June 4. The wildlife department immediately set up teams to capture the man-eating animal.
“We captured the animal near the DC office early in the morning. She is a fully grown female. We are shifting her to the Dachigam National park,” Ifshan Dewan, Wildlife Warden (wetlands) told The Kashmir Monitor.
The wildlife department had hired seven hunters to nab the leopard in the area. The entire area was mapped and camera traps and cages were installed on all the routes. There were two high-density nurseries in the Budgam district.
During reconnaissance, the officials found that the animal was frequenting Budgam and Ompora nurseries. Therefore infra-red cameras were set up along these possible routes. Officials said it immediately captures the image once the infrared beam is breached by any animal or any human being. These infrared devices were placed at strategic locations so that it is able to transmit pictures.
“And our strategy worked. Our guesses proved right. The track of the animal was mapped and cages were placed at different locations. Finally, we got the animal,” said a top officer
Earlier, the wildlife department had listed do’s and dont’s 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.