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A leopard in Faridabad, Haryana, lynched to death by an angry mob and another near Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, was paraded by a mob after being beaten. These are not isolated incidents.
Across the country incidents of leopards coming into conflict with humans are on the rise. As mobs vent anger on a helpless animal – why is the forest department not able to get in and remove the animal safely?
Karthik Satyanarayan said, “Despite the presence of police all we needed was space. People just took law in their hands. It is completely irresponsible and I think those responsible should be identified and punished as this was not a way of getting revenge or self-defence. They attacked a helpless animal.”
In Faridabad the helpless animal in fact was chased for several hours even as the police looked on, and the rescue teams that arrived did not even have the necessary equipment.
Belchand Sagar, wildlife inspector, Faridabad said, “We don’t even have proper equipment. Our equipment is lying in Gurgaon.”
In Bhubaneshwar too it was a similar story. Beaten with sticks, the leopard that strayed into Gandarpur village, was hung from a building. And then taken on a victory parade by its killers.
For several hours the angry villagers did not hand over this dead leopard to the forest officials demanding compensation for the injured victims. The villagers allege that had the forest officials acted in time this leopard could have been saved.
For the leopard in Maharashtra though there was some good news – the forest department managed to rescue and release it back in the forest. All thanks to an awareness campaign with the farmers who informed the authorities on time. But across the country as more and more leopards fall prey to people’s aggression is it perhaps time for a project leopard?