Hyderabad: The capture of a young wild leopard last Sunday in Medak district has added to the number of spotted cats that have been ‘rescued’ by officials of the state forest department. According to department insiders, the leopard caught near Kamaram village in Chinnashankarampet mandal in Medak district, is the 10th to be caught in the state in five years for straying into expanding human habitations and killing domestic cattle.
It is not just leopards that are unable to stay away from villages, and even cities like Hyderabad. The conflict between wild animals and people is only growing though the state forest department appears to have adopted an approach of treating each of such cases as a single isolated incident instead of treating the rising number of such conflicts as a trend and an issue that needs to be addressed.
According to information gathered from officials of the forest department, the past few years saw at least 40 cases of sloth bears coming into towns, and villages. Most of these were caught and released in forests near the location where they were caught. Then there are the numerous instances of wild boar raiding crops in many villages in the state, and it was possibly one such sounder of these wild pigs that finance minister T. Harish Rao’s convoy hit on June 21 this year as he was coming from Siddipet to Hyderabad.
The ones that make the most news are the interactions between people and tigers, which are becoming increasingly common in the former united Adilabad district area. It may be recalled that last year, in November and December, two persons were killed by a tiger, identified as a male, that had come into Telangana state from forests in Maharashtra.
A senior forest department official said that it was not surprising to see increasing instances of wildlife entering villages, towns, or even cities in some instances as was the case with a leopard – that kept officials on their toes for six months and was caught in October 2020 in Rajendranagar area of Hyderabad. Before that, two leopards were trapped in the Icrisat campus at Patancheru. The official said more and more people are now venturing into forested areas, and even scrub forests, the latter which are also suitable for leopards to live in, as also sloth bears, wild boar and some other smaller wildlife.
“There is so much grazing of cattle, and sheep it is inevitable that leopards will attack and kill cattle. In most areas that are ideal for leopards, there are very few of their natural prey animals, such as deer. Where will they go, other than to enter villages in search of prey?” another official, who was formerly involved in trying to catch one such leopard, said....