BENGALURU: Almost every morning, a leopard and its two cubs relax on a hilly forested patch in Baithakola village near Karwar in Uttara Kannada district. And at dusk too, the big cat and its little ones are found in the same patch lolling about. But the villagers don’t panic. This is a regular sight, they say.
Incidents of conflict between humans and leopard are nowadays very common in the urban milieu. People from different parts of the state have been urging for the relocation of big cats from their respective areas.
However, residents of Baithakola have allowed the feline family to live happily in their midst. They have demonstrated sheer concern for a mother leopard nurturing her two cubs and have learned to co-exist with it. Villagers have been very tolerant of their presence and not made any efforts to drive away the leopard family unlike the recent incidents at other places. In fact, they have requested the Karwar forest officials not to take any action.
“We have no conflict with the leopard rearing its cubs. It comes early morning with its cubs to relax on the hills. Then once again, it comes during dusk. This is her regular routine. She has not troubled us at all,” said Syamala, a local resident.“Baithakola village inhabited by fishermen is in the midst of a forest. And the leopard has never come out into the open to trouble these people. So the acceptance level is high; however, initially, people were scared. We convinced them, and they started adjusting to the idea of a leopard in their midst,” said Karwar DCF Ganapathi.
He further said that local fishermen are not dependent on forests for their needs. Their lifestyle is such that most of the day, they are out for fishing. Conflicts are hence less in these thickly forested regions. “We maintain utmost vigil on the big cat’s movements and during night, it is camera-trapped,” he said.The female leopard is four to five years old and this is her first or second breed. Usually the leopard family comes from one side and escape into the forest from another side.