Leopard appears near CM’s residence, kills Don

At a time when attack on Law minister has put security agencies on tenterhooks, threat from the wild has added to their worries

M HYDERI

Srinagar, Dec 13: At a time when security has been beefed up in the summer Capital following a deadly attack on state’s Law Minister, a threat from the wild has furthered the concern of security agencies giving them more of sleepless nights.
 And this threat has emerged right from highly fortified Gupkar locality, which houses villas of the government top brass including Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, that too exactly since Sunday evening when the CM’s Cabinet colleague Ali Muhammad Sagar escaped life bid in old City.
 Officials have confirmed presence of a leopard in the area in the heels of Sulaiman Hills, while Wildlife authorities have launched a hunt to trap the big cat.

THE DISCOVERY
 This all was first noticed on Sunday 9:15 PM by Dr Niyaz Ahmed Jan, who lives at 4-Gupkar, when medico’s pet dog named Don, barked loud twice only to go suddenly mute.
 This unusual silence, clicked curiosity of his master who was dining with his family, as Dr Jan spontaneously rushed out to see what had happened to the Bakarwaali breed pet, whom he had unchained in the compound for night vigil.
 “The moment I opened the door, a big roar could be heard and I at once shut it back and rushed in to peep out from the window as to what was going on outside,” Dr Niyaz, whose house is a few furlongs away from CM’s residence, told Greater Kashmir.
 And the medico’s eyes simply couldn’t believe the scene outdoors. “A big leopard was climbing our compound wall,” he added.
 This set the alarm bells ringing. Dr Jan started calling his neighbors on phone cautioning them not to venture out. The leopard by now climbed down towards the other side of the wall, common between Dr Jan’s residence and adjoining state owned Gupkar Nursing Home.
 “It climbed down the common wall towards other side and disappeared in the nursing home, which has no lighting towards this side of the premises,” the neighbour added.

POLICE FINDS DON DEAD
 In the meantime police rushed to this high security area and started searching for the beast. Don was found dead, lying in pool of blood which was oozing out of its pierced throat, obviously preyed by the wild beast. But as the leopard couldn’t be traced in the night hours, the police party left the spot.
 At around 1:00 AM Dr Niyaz again heard a roar from Gupkar Nursing home side. “But this time I didn’t peep out.” Scared, the man and other family members, went to sleep.
 In the morning when he came out, Don’s carcass was missing from the compound enough to convey that it had been taken away by the leopard somewhere around midnight.
 By now, a team of wildlife officials arrived in the area and confirmed the presence of leopard by identifying the pugmarks at the 4-Gupkar residence and elsewhere there.

OFFICIALS SPEAK
 Wildlife Warden Central Kashmir Imtiaz Lone while confirming the presence of leopard said traps have been laid and hunt was on to nab the endangered animal.
 “Basically this locality falls too close to the forest area, a habitat of wild animals from where it must have sneaked in,” Lone told Greater Kashmir.
 Interestingly, the official said leopards are “very fond” of dogs. “The smell of dog must have attracted it towards the house,” he added.
 Explaining the sensitivity of the issue, Lone said: “It’s a matter of fact that human life is of paramount importance but at the same time we have to save the wild animals as well.”

TIMELINE BIG CATS
 For the past few years, reports of presence of leopards in the City have been pouring in. Last year, the residents of Shiv Pora claimed to have seen the big cat not once but several times at night prompting the wildlife authorities to launch hunt. But they couldn’t locate the beast and its presence continues to be a mystery.
 A similar episode was reported earlier this year when residents of Raj Bagh complained about the presence of a leopard there. It too couldn’t be traced.
 Six years back, however, a leopard was spotted in Lal Bazar locality. But instead of being tranquilized to be caught, it was shot dead by police.

BOTTOMLINE
 Leopards and other wild animals like bears, do sneak into this City in the heels of Zaberwan hills, which hosts famed Dachigam National Park at the other end.
 Observers say such incidents were outcome of “man animal conflict” as human inhabitation has penetrated into City’s fragile forest area while successive governments have failed to take adequate care of the stakeholders: Man and Animal, resulting in their conflict!

Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST




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