|92 leopards killed in 2 months, 36 fell to poaching
The Pioneer, TUESDAY, 05 MARCH 2013
MOUSHUMI BASU | NEW DELHI
first two months of the year have been deadly for leopards in India as
92 big cats were poached, poisoned, killed by mobs and forest guards
and met with accidental deaths during this period. Leopards belong to
the Schedule -1 species, under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and
need the highest level of protection. Sadly, despite so much noise
being made over their protection, the poachers managed to kill 36
leopards and 12 others fell prey to mobs.
A host of others were
found dead under mysterious circumstances, run over on roads and died
during rescue operations etc. The Pioneer obtained these figures from
the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
tops the list of the maximum leopard fatalities, with 42 deaths being
recorded in the State. There were also seizures of 14 leopard skins and
8.8 kgs of bones in the State.
Madhya Pradesh stands at a distant second with a total of nine leopard deaths. Four of them were poached.
Sharma, Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttarakhand said that the hilly State
has 65 per cent forest cover and nearly 2,000 leopards, hence the
incidents of leopard-human conflict are more rampant here.
of the 42 cases of leopard deaths in the State at least eight to ten
were a result of revenge killing by the local communities. During the
same period, leopards also killed 11 people,” he said. “Growing human
pressure, fragmentation of their habitat, scarcity of water and prey in
the forests are also compelling the leopard to venture out in open
every now and then,” he added. “The need of the hour is to take the
issue of leopard conservation seriously and evolve long-term
strategies”, pointed out Tito Joseph, Programme Manager, WPSI.
situation has been alarming for the last three-four years, with 325
leopard mortalities being reported on an average, each year. “There is
an urgent need to take up studies on its actual population status and
its prey base,” Joseph added.