KALPETTA: The swiftness with which a leopard that entered Kannur city was tranquilised and removed by the Forest Department has kicked off a discussion on the value of life in Wayanad. Farmers’ organisations and greens of Wayanad feel that the top officials are lethargic in acting whenever there is wildlife attack in Wayanad where as they act swiftly in case of cities. In the latest incident in Kannur, officials at Thiruvananthapuram issued a shoot-at-sight order to kill the animal. Farmers point out that that the same officials issue orders to release problem elephants captured by forest department in human habitats in Wayanad.
They point out the case of Kallur Komban, an elephant that turned violent and regularly raided paddy fields. The animal was tranquilised and shifted to the kraal. But a few days later a top official started issuing verbal orders to officials in Wayanad, threatening them to face dire consequences if they failed to release the animal in the wild in the same habitat. When the public started agitation, the official even ordered releasing the animal in Parambikulam, against the advice and suggestions of wildlife experts. The said official had to withdraw the order after intense public agitation.
Social activist Shaji Kottayil told DC that some of these officials were dancing to the tunes of certain dubious elements. “If they release the animal wreaking havoc in farm fields, not only the animal, but the entire wildlife as well as forest would be in danger,” he said. “As in the case of the leopard in Kannur there should be swift action to trap and remove animals that enter human habitats, posing threat to human lives,” he said.
Recently a woman who was milking a cow near home was attacked by an elephant and in another case one person who was walking on the road was killed by elephant in Tirunelli. In both cases, no action was taken by Forest department to identify and relocate the problem animals. Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samity president N. Badusha told this paper that for the safety of wildlife as well as the forest, the human-animal conflict should be reduced. “The problem animals that enter in human habitats should be rehabilitated on a war-foot basis,” he added.