Leopard declared man-eater in Varmul
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, July 1: The wildlife authorities have declared leopard a man eater and ordered its killing after it killed a 10-year old girl last week.
The authorities have empowered the special squads and professional hunters to eliminate the animal to prevent further human causalities. The leopard had mauled Shabnum Zulfiqar daughter of Zulfiqar Khan of Gujjarpati Gantamulla in Varmul district. The killing had evoked massive protests prompting the wildlife officials to swung into action.
“We have declared the leopard as a man-eater on the basis of circumstantial evidences and statement of witnesses. We have also passed orders for the animal’s killing” Wildlife Warden North, Rauf Zargar, told Greater Kashmir.
Zargar said special squads have been formed to kill the leopard. “We have been tracing the leopard’s pawn marks. Our priority will be to capture the leopard. However, as a last option, our squads will kill the animal. To undertake the job, we have utilized the services of professional hunters and laced them with guns and cartridges. We have also set-up cages across the Gantamulla forests,” the wildlife warden said.
Incidentally this is the second incident in over a year in which the leopards killed a girl. Last year, the leopard had ripped apart 10-year old girl, Khalida Akhter, of Budan in Rafiabad. After the incident, authorities had declared the leopard as a man-eater and after hectic efforts killed it.
However, the wildlife officials maintained that the situation was not alarming. “The leopards see the children as soft targets. However, taking statistics into consideration, we see the killing of children as isolated incidents. But at the same time we are not taking any chances and are on hunt for the leopard to avoid more causalities,” Zargar said.
Officials have also launched an awareness campaign in villages frequented by the wild animals. “After the killing, the villagers are feeling insecure. Our teams have issued dos and don’ts to them in case they confront wild animals,” he said.
Experts said the wild animals roam out of forests due to disturbance or in search of food. There has been massive felling of trees and heavy movement of troops in the Varmul forests. ‘This might be one of the factors for straying of wild animals into human habitations. But people have constructed hutments on the fringes of forests and intruded into the habitat of the wild animals,” they said.
Officials figures states that 92 people were killed and 790 other injured in attacks by wild animals in the state in past four years. Incidentally, the man-animal conflict is not only confined to Varmul but the entire Valley. Bears and leopards have been frequently spotted in residential areas like Harwan, Brein, Nishat, which fall in the Zabarwan range on whose foothills lie Army’s 15 Corps headquarters and houses of VVIPs.
Besides the city, the problem is severe across the countryside like Kupwara, Bandipora and Pulwama where forests have been vandalized by the smugglers during past 20 years.
In 2006, a bear was burnt alive by an angry mob in Pulwama district. Earlier this year, a leopard was shot dead by police in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district after it ventured into a village. These killings had triggered severe criticism from animal rights activists.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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