Bengaluru: The leopard that came to the school near the tech park in Whitefield doesn’t know that the government and the big corporates together have transformed the scrub jungles and some stretches of forest areas surrounding the lakes such as Kundalhalli, Varthur etc. into nestling concrete layouts.
A leopard that hunts for jackals, snakes, monkeys and peacocks still believes that it can get some food in some patches of these areas where it found them once in abundance. And incidentally the leopard may be finding, with some difficulty of course, some lesser catch like dogs and rabbits which stray into these vanishing vestiges of the lush green hedge growth that once guarded and enriched the undulated landscapes of Bengaluru.
How does a leopard know that the people in the urban areas are becoming greedy, selfish mean and mindless and encroaching their habitats and trying to take away their food? The feline also doesn’t know that the area where it used to prey for small mammals is now a tech park. There are no jackals or peacocks, nor sheep and goats which the farmers once tended. But now there are more dogs thanks to the uncleared garbage and the leopards randomly catch them. The stray dogs have grown in numbers because of the growth of bistros, eateries, meat selling shops and rising meat eaters in these tech parks, whose leftovers are a feast for the dogs and who in turn are preyed upon by the big cats.
Leopards are alert and cunning too. If you cheat them they will give you back in many ways. Leopards are very adaptable to changing environs. They live in the forests and also wander through scrub jungles and the open plains hunting for myriad meals. They are unbelievably strong and hence easily carry a goat or a sheep up the tree with more ease than other animals.
What was once a rich habitat for the leopards, jackals, hares, birds and bees are today smouldering blocks of asphalt, cement and steel where young people cluster together glued to their gadgets not knowing that their so called comforts like air conditioners and computers are keeping thousands of animals, birds and bees hungry and dying. Will our developers, builders and short sighted government officials will ever realize what cruelty is being meted out to the innocent creatures by their mindless actions?
(The writer is a Renowned Environmentalist and Founder Eco-Watch, Centre for Environment and Sustainable development)...