TUMKUR: Thanks to the apathy of the forest department, casualties due to the man-animal conflict have been mounting over the last two years. The deaths of a trapped leopard at Devarayanadurga Forest and another big cat which was mauled to death by the public happened primarily due to a lethargic response on the part of officials. The recent death of a leopard in a snare at a farm at Arakere village, near here, took the death toll of the big cats to three in the last three months.
Though the leopard died at the hands of the public, the department took it casually and burnt it after a post mortem. Also, the media was misguided as the animal being captured and released in to the forest.
In fact, the straying of wild animals the elephants in to human habitat is not a new phenomenon. For over a decade, elephants, leopards and bears have continuously strayed in to the district. In this period, ten persons have lost their lives.
However, precautionary measures to create awareness among the public on the issue has been largely non-existent. Deputy Conservator of Forests, Vijayakumar admitted that a leopard died at their hands of the public when they attempted to catch it alive. “Since the motive was not to kill, we did not file any cases against them,” he clarified. However, on the other two leopard deaths, he said that the ACF is being instructed to conduct a probe in to the incidents. He said that a workshop on the issue is scheduled to be held on January 17 to chalk out a comprehensive plan.
Head of Wildlife Aware Nature Club B V Gundappa observed that the forest department should create awareness to safeguard wildlife. “A veterinarian with expertise in dealing with wild animals should be posted in Tumkur in order to rescue trapped animals.”