'Leopard has left human habitation at Bagh-e-Mehtab'

Representational Photo

A leopard that was spotted at Bagh-e-Mehtab area on city outskirts here has possibly taken a safe passage and left the human habitation, officials said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Regional Wildlife Warden (RWW) Kashmir, Rashid Y Naqash, said officials of the Wildlife department scanned the Bagh-e-Mehtab and adjoining area throughout the day and came to the conclusion that the leopard had possibly taken a safe passage and left the human habitation.

Urging the people of the area to come out and resume their normal activities, he said that the department had still taken precautionary measures like placing cages for the wild cat at various vintage points.

Naqash said the Wildlife department deployed 30 officials from its Wetland Division and Central Division on the job among which one was injured while trying to capture the leopard.

However, he claimed that the locals did not cooperate with the Wildlife department’s team and made capturing the wild cat difficult for his team.

“Our staff was on the frontline and twice darted the leopard with tranqulisers but for getting sedated, the metabolic activities of the animal should not be fast,” he said. “Sedating it needed a peaceful atmosphere but, unfortunately, people kept chasing it away.”

Naqash said when the blood circulation of the animal is fast, the tranquilisers do not work.

“Resultantly, we were not able to catch it despite confining it to a corner several times,” he said. “Crowd management in such times is important.”

On how the wild cat ventured into an area with dense human habitation, the RWW said, “The leopard has vast adaptability in urban areas and suburbs and the wild cat is often sighted even in metros like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata as it just needs cover, shelter and food and hides itself in orchards, plantation units, abandoned building and sheds.”

Naqash said the leopard is nocturnal and often comes out during the night in absence of human activity.

Urging people not to be afraid of the leopard, he said the leopard and wild bear have defensive mechanism and if people give them a space without panicking and without making noise, it gets a sense of security and leaves without causing any harm.

“In Dachigam, we have not heard of any attack in 150 years as these wild animals have a tendency to avoid human contact in their natural habitats,” Naqash said urging people to stay calm and quiet, and not frighten it if they encounter the wild cat.

He said if there was a need for intervention, people could call Police besides the 25 control rooms of the Wildlife department.

“People can call the Police Control Room that can get in touch with us as we are connected,” Naqash said and urged people to allow the Wildlife department officials to work unhindered whenever they are on the job.  “Let us work. We will do our job professionally. People should move behind and not take sticks and other things in hands, give the wild animals a safe passage and they will take their natural corridor and leave. In 90 percent cases, we don’t have to do anything.”

On Tuesday morning, people were shocked to see the leopard moving around from one compound of the Bagh-e-Mehtab locality to another compound, frightening the entire locality.

A video of the leopard seen in Bagh-e-Mehtab that was captured by an unknown person went viral after it was uploaded by a journalist, Mufti Islah and had left the people of the locality terrified.

Following this the Wildlife Department had issued an advisory asking people living in Bagh-e-Mehtab and adjacent areas not to venture out.