Kurnool: Faced with the threat of being attacked by a straying leopard in villages bordering Nallamala forest in Nandyal division, residents seek rapid response teams to tackle the man-animal conflict in Kurnool district. The threat of being attacked by a leopard or a tiger remains, says a villager of Peruru.
Environmentalists have demanded the use of drones to locate the leopard.
Villages close to the reserved forest in Kurnool district are prone to attacks by the wild animals. Since last two days, residents of Allagadda village close to the forest say chances of seeing a leopard is increasing day by day. In villages like Chinnakambaluru, Peruru and Eedubai Kottala, there are frequent tales of leopard and attacks.
Villagers say pugmarks of tiger are visible in their fields. At least for the last one week, the leopard has been moving around these villages, they said. Farmers, and labourers are scared to venture into their fields. Forest officials, when informed about the likely movement of the big cat, visited the villages and collected pug marks to verify later that indeed were the pug marks.
Nandyal Divisional Forest Officer Shiva Kumar told this paper that they had confirmed the pug marks and advised the villagers not to venture into the forest areas. In Rudravaram and Chelma range too, the pug marks of leopard were sighted by villagers and forest officials.
Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest in India spread over three districts in Andhra Pradesh -- Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur. It also covers Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar districts in Telangana state. The total area of the tiger reserve is 3,568 square kilometres. The core area of this reserve is 1,200 km2 (460 sq mi).
The Government of India, through the centrally sponsored scheme, ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats,’ ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’ provides financial and technical assistance to State/UT Governments for protection and conservation of wildlife and its habitats.
An official of the Forest Department said in a situation like this, use of drones is highly recommended which is cost effective and minimises human loss while pursuing the strayed wild animals.
He said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority had recently informed the Rajya Sabha that drones have been pilot tested in Panna Tiger Reserve.
Permission for extending its use in 13 other tiger reserves, Corbett (Uttarak-hand), Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh), Ranthambhore (Rajasthan), Panna (Madhya Pradesh), Melghat (Maharashtra), Similipal (Odisha), Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh & Telangana), Bandipur (Karnataka), Sathyamangalam (Tamil Nadu), Parambikulam (Kerala), Kaziranga (Assam), Namdapha (Arunachal Pradesh) and Sundarbans (West Bengal) as per requirement, has been obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Civil Aviation and Ministry of Defence subject to fulfilment of certain terms and conditions.