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Thread: Is it time India had a project leopard?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it time India had a project leopard?

    Is it time India had a project leopard?
    CNN-IBN
    Posted on Jan 13, 2011 at 08:08pm IST

    New Delhi: A leopard in Faridabad, Haryana, lynched to death by an angry mob and another near Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, was paraded by a mob after being beaten. These are not isolated incidents.
    Across the country incidents of leopards coming into conflict with humans are on the rise. As mobs vent anger on a helpless animal - why is the forest department not able to get in and remove the animal safely?
    Karthik Satyanarayan said, "Despite the presence of police all we needed was space. People just took law in their hands. It is completely irresponsible and I think those responsible should be identified and punished as this was not a way of getting revenge or self-defence. They attacked a helpless animal."
    In Faridabad the helpless animal in fact was chased for several hours even as the police looked on, and the rescue teams that arrived did not even have the necessary equipment.
    Belchand Sagar, wildlife inspector, Faridabad said, "We don't even have proper equipment. Our equipment is lying in Gurgaon."
    In Bhubaneshwar too it was a similar story. Beaten with sticks, the leopard that strayed into Gandarpur village, was hung from a building. And then taken on a victory parade by its killers.
    For several hours the angry villagers did not hand over this dead leopard to the forest officials demanding compensation for the injured victims. The villagers allege that had the forest officials acted in time this leopard could have been saved.
    For the leopard in Maharashtra though there was some good news - the forest department managed to rescue and release it back in the forest. All thanks to an awareness campaign with the farmers who informed the authorities on time. But across the country as more and more leopards fall prey to people's aggression is it perhaps time for a project leopard?

    Do check this video clip taken in Bhubaneshwar - http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/140312/...html?from=trhs

    Link - http://ibnlive.in.com/news/is-it-tim.../140381-3.html
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

  2. #2
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    We absolutely need an initiative here. We have been talking tigers all the way and the others have always been sidelined. Even with a project Tiger in place things are already not that great, wondering without a project leopard or something on similar lines, how long it would be before we start counting the 'magic numbers' of leopards left!!!
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.orissawildlife.blogspot.com

  3. #3

    Default Report on Leopard Conflict near Bhubaneswar

    Following is a press release issued by Wild Orissa on the killing of a leopard that had strayed out of the Chandaka-Dampada Wildlife Sanctuary near Bhubaneswar on 13th January 2011.

    Ref. No.: WO/HQRS/CDSLCON/2011
    Date: 14.01.11


    PRESS RELEASE


    On the morning of 13th January 2011, a male leopard was beaten to death by a mob of villagers at Gandarpur on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The incident took place a little after 8.00am. Around 12.00pm, news was received that a second leopard had been sighted in the area and villagers were in hot pursuit of it. Following these reports members of Wild Orissa, Aditya Panda and Diptiranjan Patra, visited the spot in order to obtain a first hand analysis of the situation. They visited the site and interacted with locals and forest officials, including DFO, City Forest Division, JK Dash.

    It was gathered that on the morning of 13th January, one Bijay Rout, 30, noticed some movement in a bush while he was out to answer the call of nature. He walked up to it and surprised a leopard that attacked him. Hearing his screams, a group of boys playing cricket nearby came to his rescue and in the commotion the leopard let go and tried to hide. Soon a mob gathered and closed in on the leopard, leaving it with no route to escape through. They started pelting it with stones and the panic stricken animal attacked a 15-year-old boy. Soon the entire mob descended on the animal and clubbed it to death with cricket bats, wickets, sticks, etc. They then proceeded to parade the dead body through the village and even tied it up to a building on display. They refused to hand it over to forest department demanding compensation for the victims. Compensation was promised by the forest department, the body was reclaimed and was sent to the veterinary college at OUAT for post mortem.

    It is important to note here that forest staff was already present at the site before the animal was attacked and its pleading failed to stop the villagers. The DFO stated that had the villagers given just another fifteen minutes, the leopard could have been tranquillised and safely removed from the site by a team that was already on its way from Nandankanan Zoo, only 10kms away. What is most disturbing is an allegation that a cameraperson of a leading local Oriya news channel had actually incited the villagers into beating the leopard, since he wanted to capture some ‘dramatic’ footage.

    When the Wild Orissa team arrived at the site, villagers were on the hunt for a second leopard allegedly sighted around noon. It had been sighted near a cowshed and was said to be smaller than the one killed in the morning. The Wild Orissa team noticed what convincingly appeared to be leopard pugmarks near the cowshed. The forest staff also claimed that more pugmarks were around, but that the constant movement of crowds had destroyed them. Around 5.00pm, some women claimed that they had seen a leopard running away into the fields. This was confirmed to the DFO by a forest guard, who too claimed to have sighted the fleeting leopard. A mob situation began building up again with people gathering bricks and stones to attack the animal, but the forest staff and some good Samaritans among the villagers managed to control the crowd. There was no trace of the leopard anymore after that and the villagers were persuaded to leave it alone and stay indoors. They were advised to not come out until late in the morning and to give the animal ample time to escape at night. Forest and police personnel camped through the night in the village in order to ensure this.

    Gandarpur is not traditional leopard habitat. It appears that the leopard/s had most probably strayed out of the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, around 10 kms from the village, in desperate search of food into villages on the banks of the Kuakhai River, a distributary of the Mahanadi. The vegetation covered river islands might have given the animal/s cover as the waited until nightfall to pick up the odd goat or dog.

    Wild Orissa would like to make the following points and observations from this sad experience:

    The persons who killed the animal must be identified and arrested for violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. They purposefully instigated the animal to attack, and they did not kill it in “self defence” as they are now claiming. Had they cooperated, it could have easily been possible to save the life of the animal.
    The allegation against the local Oriya news channel cameraman must be investigated and exemplary punishment must be given to the person if he is found guilty. Such human-leopard conflict, previously uncommon in Orissa, seems to be on the rise of late. Media should be extremely sensitive in handling such matters.

    Wild Orissa would also like to strongly take up the case of the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary whose neglect has partly been responsible for such an incident. The Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, once a leopard stronghold, has seen a sharp decline of the big cats over the past decade, as it has with elephants. Wild Orissa insists that the following action points are taken up on priority with respect to conserving the leopard in Chandaka:

    This incident shows that Chandaka might still be having a significant number of leopards and it is high time that the sanctuary administration accepts this fact and includes this fact in the sanctuary’s management policy.
    Monitoring and patrolling in the sanctuary appears to have become less stringent. Field personnel need to be aware of basic wildlife activity in their beats and share wildlife-related information within sanctuary staff.

    Unfortunately over the past five years, the management policy of the sanctuary seems to have completely shifted away from wildlife protection and management to a tourism-centric approach. Funds have been unnecessarily spent on building interpretation centres, children’s parks, digging and re-digging ineffective elephant trenches, furnishing rest houses and watch towers, etc while the basic and most important task of protection has been grossly neglected.

    Wildlife poaching especially of cheetal, timber felling, daily collection of hundreds of cycle-loads of firewood, etc. are rampant, as are cattle grazing by the villagers inside the sanctuary. Prey species for the leopard, which includes herbivores like chital, barking deer and wild boar have been severely depleted due to uncontrolled poaching. Even usually commonly and prolifically seen herbivores like barking deer and wild boar are rarely seen in Chandaka. The shortage of prey base makes the habitat increasingly unsuitable for leopards to live and breed in and causes them to stray out to nearby inhabited areas in search of easy pickings like dogs and goats. This ends up in conflict situations as happened in Gandarpur.

    The habitat in the sanctuary is getting severely degraded due to invasion of weeds, further reducing its capacity to sustain viable numbers of herbivores. This could also been a major reason for most of the sanctuary’s elephants abandoning it and desperately moving out in search of fodder.

    There is tremendous anthropogenic pressure both from within and from outside the sanctuary. Rapidly expanding Bhubaneswar, upcoming residential and commercial complexes, engineering colleges and other construction have blatantly violated laws such as the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the orders of the Apex Court that prohibits any permanent construction within 10kms of the boundary of a Protected Area.

    Chandaka is already under severe stress for being an islanded, fragmented patch of forest caught inside the relentlessly expanding urban conglomerate of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khurda. The least that needs to be done is to ensure that within the boundaries of this tiny 190 sq km sanctuary wildlife can live peacefully. Given proper protection, Chandaka can hold a healthy number of leopards. Corridors with the forests of Athgarh can be revived. Even its last remaining elephants—though they do not have any long-term future in the sanctuary’s current state, as they are too small in number to have a genetically viable future—need to have a fodder-rich, peaceful habitat in which to live in. Good protection and a well-managed habitat are by themselves half the solution to the tragic human-wildlife conflict that this region has seen so much—first with elephants, and now, with leopards.


    Aditya Chandra Panda
    Head, Chandaka-Dampara Conservation Programme
    Wild Orissa
    Last edited by Aditya Panda; 15-01-2011 at 09:06 PM. Reason: formatting errors

  4. #4

    Default An update

    The second leopard has been sighted at a village called Kendupatna, a few kilometres upstream of Gandarpur where the male was killed. This second leopard appears to be a small-ish female. It was seen following a herd of goats today morning and then the typical commotion followed and the leopard has gone into hiding. I advised the DFO, Bhubaneswar, to set up traps around the area as, sadly, this appears to be the only option at hand now. The other being to allow the leopard to wander into habitation again in its desperate search for prey and be beaten up. The DFO promptly informed his immediate senior and equally promptly declared that setting up the traps wasn't his duty, as he headed a territorial division! Technically speaking, he is correct.

    When I left the scene at 6pm, the Wildlife Wing staff were yet to arrive. It doesn't look like the traps are going to come before tomorrow. Hope that tonight passes safely for the leopard. The animal is heading in the general direction of Chandaka, but it has to cross ten or more kilometres of habitation, roads and railway lines before it can get there. It hasn't fed in the past few days. One prays that in its desperation to hunt tonight, it doesn't land up in more trouble than it already is in.

    Meanwhile, cases have been registered against six of the people who killed the other leopard.

    Regards,
    Aditya
    Last edited by Aditya Panda; 15-01-2011 at 09:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    Change in lifestyle is making villagers more and more hostile. As expected, the influx of modern gadgets and exposure to outside world through mediums such as internet and TV is taking a toll on the very identity of an average village Indian who a decade ago was considerate, knowledged, well mannered, contented and more importantly tolerant of fellow creatures.

    This leopard incident and the score of other similar incidences are not something which the wildlife enthusiasts should only worry about, but should make the nation as a whole thinking - Our people are losing their identity and not tolerant of anything...

    Leopard will indeed catch up with the tiger and even winover it in the extinction race if this trend continues.

  6. #6
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    Any further updates Aditya? I guess no news is good news.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabyasachi Patra View Post
    Any further updates Aditya? I guess no news is good news.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi
    Hi,

    I don't know if this is good news, but it is certainly relieving news. The second leopard (a female) that had been doing the rounds of the area seems to have managed to get back into the Chandaka Sanctuary. She was seen by villagers early on the morning of the 16th January and her pugmarks were found a little later in the morning near the railway tracks near Barang railway station. I visited the site, and from the looks of it, I think that if she has crossed the railway tracks, she must have found her way back into Chandaka. Hope she stays there and hope there.

    Cheers,
    Aditya

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    Default Another leopard dies near Dholbaha forest

    Amritsar Another young leopard died during rescue operations on Monday after it was found trapped in the wires put up by farmers to protect their crops at Bhaghera village near Dholbaha jungles of Hoshiarpur district.
    This is the third death of a big cat in the state in the last two months. The incidents have put a serious question mark on the safety of the animal and the functioning of the wildlife department. The preliminary post-mortem, meanwhile, concluded that the animal died due to an intense pressure on its nervous system.

    Wildlife officials were informed about a leopard getting caught in the snare and a team was rushed to the spot. They overpowered the leopard with a net but in the absence of a tranquilising gun, the shot was manually administered with the help of a syringe to make the animal unconscious and bring it to the rescue station. There are allegations that the animal could have died of a tranquiliser overdose.

    Chief Wildlife Warden Gurbaz Singh, however, said only a two-millilitre dose of the tranquiliser was given, while the young animal could be given eight to ten millilitres. “The animal got trapped in the wires and struggled so much to get free that it even uprooted the poles meant to support the wires and got dangerously exhausted. No doubt the dose was given manually but that was within the limits,” said Singh.

    In December, a leopard died in the same area after being trapped in a similar fashion. Before that, another young leopard was found dead in the forests of Ropar district and its claws and canine teeth were found missing. “Here, poaching is not the reason. Due to the snow and scarcity of food in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, the animals stray into Punjab areas and get trapped,” said Gurbaz Singh.

    “This is the third leopard to die and departmental negligence is writ large. Why cannot we protect the animals? I do not buy the theory that all of them stray from Himachal. Punjab’s Kandi forest area is the habitat of leopards and the wildlife department is failing to protect the animals,” said former honorary wildlife warden Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa.

    He demanded a high-level probe into the death of leopards and said he would take up the matter with the senior authorities.

    Gurbaz Singh, meanwhile, said senior officials from the wildlife department had already reached the spot and a thorough probe would be conducted. “I have written to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for a scientific survey and study of the phenomena of leopards straying into the area and falling prey. We will do everything to protect the animals,” he said.

    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-n...forest/738824/
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.orissawildlife.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    Default Six booked for killing leopard on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar

    The news article for the arrest of 6 people as mentioned by Aditya.

    BHUBANESWAR: A day after a mob killed a leopard on the outskirts of the city, forest officials on Friday registered cases against six persons for killing a Scheduled I' animal. They were booked under different sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Preliminary investigation revealed that six persons took part in the killing. "A detailed probe is currently on," DFO Jayant Dash said. "Cases, if necessary, will be registered against others found involved in the crime," he said.

    The DFO could not, however, throw any light on the area from where the animal came and how it strayed into the riverbed, which is located not far from the village. "The male adult leopard did not enter the village. It hid in the bushes in the river bank. The animal got irritated only after some villagers shouted and threw stones at it, forcing it to run for its life. In the process, the leopard came face to face with the villagers who barred its flight and were wounded. The villagers finally overpowered it and beat it to death," the DFO said.

    Dash said there had been no reports of leopard attacks in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar till date. "From the circumstances it indicates that the leopard was not a man-eater. It turned hostile only after it was disturbed by all that noise and the crowd of angry villagers," he said.

    The residents of Gandarpur village, however, maintained that it was the animal that attacked villagers and that the killing was only in self-defence. "It was only after we heard the screams that we rushed to the spot. On reaching the location, I found my son and another persons, both badly wounded, trying to fight the animal in self-defence. Had we not reached there in time, the animal would have mauled them. My son, Chitrasen, was bleeding heavily," said Ganesh Padhiary. "We are not animal killers. When we heard the leopard attacking people, we rushed in to save them," he added. "Those alleging that we killed the animal on purpose are not aware of what happened on location. We had no option but to kill the animal," he added.

    According to the post mortem report by the OUAT, the animal died of brain haemorrhage. "The animal suffered severe head injuries, leading to profuse bleeding from its mouth and nose. Its lungs were also damaged due to heavy blows to its rear limbs," the report stated.


    Read more: Six booked for killing leopard - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...#ixzz1BSoi62gW
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.orissawildlife.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    The Leopard death in Amritsar is highly unfortunate. Since a similar death has happened in the area in the past, this issue should be taken seriously. A thorough probe should be done and the people guilty of putting up snares should be punished immediately.

    It is high time a Project Leopard is created to stop the leopard from becoming extinct in a few years time. I request members to raise their voice by sending letters and emails to Shri Jairam Ramesh, The Hon'ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for MoEF and copy mark to the Secretary, MoEF.
    Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110003, Ph: +91 11 24362131, Fax: +91 11 24364791

    Email id of MoS: mosef@nic.in
    Fax number of Secretary, MoEF: +91 11 24362746
    Phone number of Secreatary, MoeF: +91 11 24360721

  11. #11
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    Default Two leopard cubs clubbed to death

    In another sad case, two leopard cubs have been clubbed to death by villagers. If this sad trend continues, leopards would be wiped out soon.

    Two leopard cubs clubbed to death
    2011-03-13 20:20:00

    Lucknow, March 13 (IANS) Even as a national campaign is underway to save India's tiger population, farmers in an Uttar Pradesh village Sunday clubbed to death two one-year-old leopard cubs in an apparent revenge attack after the mother leopard attacked a woman in a tiger reserve.

    The incident happened in the Katarniya Ghat wildlife reserve in Bahraich district barely 24 hours after the woman was mauled.

    According to state chief wildlife conservator B.K. Patnaik, 'the cubs were killed when a large number of local farmers surrounded them after a farmer's wife was attacked by the mother leopard while the woman was watering her fields'.

    He said: 'The mother leopard managed to leap to safety, but the one-year-old cubs were cornered and beaten to death.'

    Geeta (25), the woman attacked by the leopard, was admitted to a Bahraich hospital and is stated to be out of danger.

    Her husband Surendra Singh, an ex-serviceman, who was with her at the time of the attack, told reporters in Katarniya Ghat: 'The leopard would have killed my wife had the farmers not immediately rushed to help.'

    Katarniya Ghat along the Indo-Nepal border, about 140 km from Lucknow, is an extended part of Uttar Pradesh's largest Dudhwa National Park. It has an an estimated population of 30 leopards and about 40 tigers.

    According to the last census in 2008, only 1,411 tigers remain in India, a sharp fall from 3,000 two decades ago.

    The latest census details will be released March 28.

    As many as 14 tigers have died in India this year till February, including two due to poaching, the union environment and forest ministry said early this month.

    Link - Two leopard cubs clubbed to death
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

  12. #12
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    Certainly, a very sad state of affairs for the 'smaller big cat'. I have actually written to the ministry of environment on the cause, also directing them to this thread

    All I can now do is hope!

    Bhargava

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    Default Issue is in the fringes..

    If Indian Govt runs Project Tiger and Project Elephant well, then there is no real need for Project Leopard in that sense.

    However, the conflict with the Leopard is always at the fringes as we know that leopards do get attracted to human habitation..

    Conflicts between villagers and the leopard are on a very frequent basis. This issue has to be tackled by a combination of education, compensation for loss, tighter monitoring and patrolling of the fringes by the forest department. We have no choice but to get the village youth to play a larger role in Leopard conservation. Its also important to strictly curb baiting and trading on leopard skin etc..

    This is a complicated matter and is going to be very resource hungry.

  14. #14

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    I agree we should. Its time for a save the leopard project before its too too late (its already too late)

  15. #15

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    In India we don't value human life, when will we wake up to the cries of animals? Before people realize the importance and come out of their ignorance, I am sure most of our wild life would have vanished.

    Couple of mistakes the government is making.
    1. Is the government taking into account how many forests are disappearing in India? With the boom in population how many villages and towns are encroaching into forest areas? Do we have any idea? Is there any account? The leopards are not straying out, we humans are diving them out of their habitat. Where is the equilibrium? We are killing its prey and expect it to stay in the forest? How will it?

    2. If there are villages inside the forest, is the Government taking any action to evacuate these villages and send people out - or relocate?

    3. What is the use of a rescue team without equipment? Will they hug the leopard? People did what they best, kill beat, take law in their own hands! I wish someone could educate them.

    4. What can we do? Can we create more forest zones across the country? Can we ensure we protect our nature before its hacked to death? I just hope so. I think we should bring this to the notice of the Government. If we don't do it, no one will.

  16. #16
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    Unfortunately, I have to agree that these days we don't appear to value life of any species including that of humans. We have covered the sad story of a leopard being burnt to death by villagers in Uttarakhand http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/indi...vol-5-issue-x/

    One can find unthinkable brutality. The Government won't wake up and take action unless people raise their voice and put pressure.

  17. #17

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    We can write to the concerned ministries and urge them to take a census and a stand...

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