Home Kashmir Fear, anger in north Kashmir after series of leopard attacks, “Wildlife dept says they lack manpower to curb attacks

Fear, anger in north Kashmir after series of leopard attacks, “Wildlife dept says they lack manpower to curb attacks

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Fear, anger in north Kashmir after series of leopard attacks, “Wildlife dept says they lack manpower to curb attacks

Sajid Raina

Baramulla, Oct 10 (KNO): People in the several villages of northern Kashmir districts including Baramulla and Kupwara are scared to step out of their homes after leopards were seen roaming in the populated areas.

An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that seven children have been killed and several others sustained injuries this year after being mauled by leopards in northern Kashmir including Uri, Boniyar and Handwara.

Besides, he said that there have been a number of incidents of leopard attack on livestock in recent times. In response to the attacks, he said that two man-eating leopards have been gunned down in Uri area.

The officials said these attacks were the result of an increasing population of leopards in the forests of Uri, the loss of habitat and human interference. However, the official said that this year two leopards which were preying on young children were shot to death by hunters deployed by the forest department in Uri.

Hours after the man-eating animal was gunned down in Uri town last evening, however, another challenge for the forest department in Handwara emerged after a leopard mauled to death a minor boy in the courtyard of his house.

He said that several teams have been constituted to track down the “man-eater” leopard in Rajwar area of Handwara said to be responsible for the killing of a child last evening.

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Despite a series of attacks by leopards in these areas, people are outraged that forest officials are ignoring them. The forest department is not taking the incidents seriously and has deputed only one hunter to kill the leopard in Handwara, alleged people.

“If we take our cattle, goats and sheep to pastures for grazing, leopards are attacking them. Farmers are worried that cheetahs are attacking and killing sleeping cattle in the vicinity of their homes at night. They also retaliate against humans if they try to drive away a leopard that has come to attack the cattle,” Abdul Aziz, a local said.

“Even fear-stricken people are not able to go to their lands to carry out agricultural work,” Mohammad Nawaz another local of Baramulla said, adding that a few days ago at least five sheep were killed in the leopard attack in his village.

Before any tragedy takes place, the Forest department must catch and rehabilitate these animals, he added.

Warden North Kashmir, Mohammad Maqbool Baba told KNO that since June this year seven leopard attacks have been reported including five in Uri and two in Rajwar area of Handwara.

He said as of now two man-eater leopards have been gunned down from the Uri area of Baramulla.

Asked about why such incidents are not being curbed, he said that they lack manpower. “We have a vast area but we don’t have enough employees who could be deployed for such attack prone areas,” the official added—(KNO)

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