Protecting Leopards in Uttarakhand !! Stop The Kill
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Hunters have been roped in by the administation of the Hilly district of Bageshwar, Uttarakhand after a Leopard has been declared a man-eater by the Forest Department.
Bageshwar MLA Chandan Ram Das had visited the village earlier and demanded that the leopard be killed.
According to media reports, 166 leopards and 16 tigers have been declared man-eaters in the state during the past 15 years.
A few years back, the state High Court had called for a stop to leopards and tigers being declared man eaters and asked these cats to be rehabilitated instead of being killed. But because the terrain is so harsh, it is difficult to set up traps. Unable to catch animals blamed for human deaths, authorities come under intense pressure from politicians and the public and give in, declaring and killing the big cats.
The recent shoot to kill orders is a result of the forest fepartment succumbing to such pressures.
The increased man animal conflict in the hills is a result of rampant construction activities in the hills and destruction of the forests.
Loss of forest productivity has meant that our forests cannot sustain medium sized herbivores like deer or big cats like leopards.
Agriculture beyond protected areas lure wild pigs and other preys which in turn lure big cats, resulting in man animal conflicts.
So we request the authorities to
(1) Pass strong orders to immediately stop all illegal activities - mining, encroachment, illegal expansions and construction in the hills of Bageshwar.
(2) Instruct the State Forest and Wildlife Departments to stop the atrocities and irregularities involved in dealing with the big cats and revoke the shoot to kill orders.
"Man-eaters" is a legacy term from colonial hunters and incorrect in today's times. Cats dont actively seek out humans, it is only because of increased contact between humans and animals that there are more conflicts that lead to deaths.
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