Leopard-human conflicts on the rise in India

After tigers, leopards on prowl
Vivek Deshpande
Posted: Sep 24, 2008 at 0143 hrs IST
Nagpur, September 23 After tigers, instances of leopards coming in conflict with human beings are growing in Chandrapur. On Monday, a female leopard mauled 52-year old Leelabai Gedam to death close to a highway near Junona reserved forest.
Leelabai had gone to the forest along with two other women to collect firewood around 5.30 am when the attack happened. What has Forest officials worried is the fact the leopard and her one-year-old cub sat close to the body of Leelabai and occasionally marched menacingly towards the crowd that tried to hoot them out from the spot where the leopard duo had dragged it. After some time the two left the place on their own.
The Forest officials immediately installed a few cages near the spot. Around 4 pm, the female leopard fell into the trap. The officials shifted the animal to an undisclosed destination.
Wildlife activists were upset over the move to take the animal elsewhere. “How can she be removed alone leaving the cub behind,” asked one. “The cub will also start behaving erratically and so would his mother,” he added.
The officials on the spot didn’t consult Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B Majumdar before taking the decision. “I have absolutely no idea if the animal has been caught,” he said.
The incident has brought into focus the rising number of incidents involving leopards straying into human settlements. A couple of months ago, a leopard from the same forest had entered a house in the outskirts of Chandrapur.
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