Monday, March 19, 2007

Livestock owners' poison cuts down Indian leopards

Vaishali Balajiwale
Sunday, March 18, 2007 23:33 IST

NASHIK: The latest incident of suspected poisoning of two leopards in Tarsali farm area at Kautikpade village in Baglan taluka in Nashik again points to the ever-increasing schism between man and animal in the country.

One female leopard was found dead with some white discharge from its mouth. A half-eaten sheep was also found nearby. Just a day later, another leopard was found dead in a similar condition a few meters away.

It is assumed that both the animals, a mother and her baby leopard, must have consumed sheep which were the cause of their death.

According to the last census, Nashik has 25 leopards while Ahmednagar has a population of 80. Since 2004, the forest department has caged, chipped and released 39 leopards back to the wild.

"This man-animal conflict is a reality. The wildlife protection act has described the leopard as a ‘scheduled animal'. Hunting of such animals is prohibited unless special permissions are sought. It is also a fact that the leopard population is increasing and with degradation of natural forests, their habitat and prey base has decreased.

It is now feeding itself on dogs, boars, cattle and at times even finds prey in humans. Also, human beings are afraid of this wild animal. The conflict seems to be inevitable," says Mohan.

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1085625

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