Early capturing of leopards, being spotted for last two weeks in Srinagar suburbs, is gathering more urgency.
It is important for safeguarding the human lives and also for early and full resumption of agriculture and horticulture related activities in the areas. Now as the spring is about to begin, the agricultural and horticulture related activities will also start in a big way.
The areas, where the leopards are being spotted, have vast agriculture fields and orchards around. After the spotting of leopards, the farmers show reluctance in going out to these fields and orchards. If they go, they return immediately fearing the arrival of the wild animal any time.
They say the fear will go once the leopards said to be two in number are captured. The Wildlife Protection Department with limited man power is making efforts to capture the wild animals.
The department has formed teams which keep on moving into areas whenever there is a report of the leopard presence. Till now they have not themselves been able to spot the leopards.
The officials say once the leopard is spotted by them it becomes possible to trap it using tranquilliser guns, nets and other equipment. The officials have placed cages at places to trap the leopards.
Most of the traps do not have anything in them which can attract the wild animal. Subsequently, the empty traps are of no use, the locals say. A strong manpower in the department could have surely made a difference.
Because of the fear of leopards' attacks, the pedestrian movement has got affected during early morning and evening hours. With the improvement in weather conditions, a number of people were planning to resume their early morning walks but most of them are thinking of delaying it for the time being till the leopard related crisis is over.
Wildlife Protection Department will have to re-devise its strategy for early capturing of the leopards. Any delay in this direction can continue affecting normal activities of local residents.
There are no indications yet that the leopards have left Srinagar outskirts and moved back towards their habitats, since the animals are being spotted in one area or the other.
Thankfully, till now there has been no report of an attack by the leopard on the residents. This may be because the people are taking precautions and following guidelines, restricting their movement during morning and evening hours.
The prey of the leopards are mainly the stray dogs, which are in large number in Srinagar areas. Their presence is making the wild animals move towards the residential areas.
Over the years the dog population has increased in Srinagar city causing lot of inconvenience to people. The number of dog bite cases are increasing.
The children and the elderly persons are also the victims. The authorities will have to seriously think about solving the problem of increasing dog population. That way the people can remain safe from dog bites, and also from wild animals.