Almora (Uttarakhand)

A man-eater Leopard was gunned down on Tuesday morning in Raun village of Havalbagh region in the Uttarakhand state of north India. Villagers in the vicinity breathed a sigh of relief.

On March 12 at 6:30pm 11 year old Rupa, daughter of Bhuvan Ram, was attacked and taken away by this Leopard. Her half eaten body was recovered the next day. The forest department after a long procedure declared this Leopard as man-eater. Shooter Joy Whickle from Pauri was contacted for the task. After 26-days of vigilance the Leopard was finally gunned down at the same point where it killed Rupa.

The dead Leopard is a female and aged between 8 to 9 years. Her three canines – one above and two below – are broken. Her claws have deteriorated over the time. Experts tells that the inability to hunt its natural prey lead this Leopardess to become man-eater.

Bottom-line:

Is it fair to kill a man-eater? How many times we kill our old parents or even grandparents when they are incapable of doing their own things? The stupid fear of mankind and their dread of dying have lead to the imbalance amongst species. Why is it alright for man to breed, reproduce, kill and eat animals, while cats killing humans is not fair? And why there is no national level Environment and Forest policy to tackle such a situation without such harsh results? It is not impossible to lay bait and trap a man-eater animal and give them their rest of remaining life under captivity. Jairam Ramesh got no answers for such a crude situation. He must come up with something for animals in a state ruled by man-eater Tiger, Leopards and Bears as well as raging Elephants. For now we can only sit back and count the death of one more precious cat from the wilds.

Uncia Uncia

1st Snow Leopard in Uttarakhand

Here is the 1st on Snow Leopard in one of its last known habitat. The state forest department of Uttarakhand state (with cover of greater Himalayas) of India with help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) found its first Snow Leopard by the virtue of a camera trap in the Malari region of the greater Himalayas. Malari falls under the Nandadevi Biosphere reserve and is a reserved forest region. The news comes as a great relief of the state forest department as the Snow Leopards were almost extinct from the region. Local farmers and nomadic shepherd have known to poach the cat for good prices of its skin and bone, bringing it on the brink of extinction.

One of the many camera traps installed by the team of WII and state forest department captured the elusive image of Snow Leopard. The region was tipped as a habitat with high density of Leopard but those claims turned out to be incorrect. After several other clipping of Himalayan Tahr, Ibex (Bharal), Marmot and Musk Deer finally there was this cat on the camera. It was indeed a moment of joy for those who are really concerned about the status of this ghost of the mountains.

The image of the cat is breakthrough news of the local forest department as well. The legends of this cat know as ‘Him Tendua’ in Hindi has been part of stories and folklore since time immemorial. Although I heard many a stories from villagers and nomads it was the first time a conclusive evidence was reported in the state where I live.

Congrats to the SLN fraternity. Hope we get many more evidence like these.

The forest dwelling tribe of Gujjars have been given the final orders to move to their newly rehabilitated colonies within next two months. The orders comes in wake of constant movement of Gujjars in forests and their direct conflict with wildlife.Stern action will be taken if the orders are not met. A rehabilitated colony has been provided to Gujjars in Gaindikhata region. Many families have already moved to their new homes, but a handful of Dera (a whole clan) still lurks around in the park region.

So much so that Gujjars have been found involved with poaching in past and their presence in the Rajaji National Park forest has hampered the growth of natural flora as well as wildlife. Even though some intellectuals aggressively protest the allegation of poaching the locals know that for centuries Gujjars have exploited precious forest resources.

Three leopard skins – two of adults and one of a cub – were seized by the Special Task Force (STF) and Police in Dehradun after receiving intelligence reports. The gang leader managed to escape from the crime scene. The smugglers are said to be dealing with wildlife skin in international market. A locally made revolver and some bullets were also recovered from the smugglers. The arrested trios are residents of Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) and Tyuni (Uttarakhand). In the Indian market the cost of the Leopard skin is estimated at about 10,00,000 Rupees.

SSP Barinder Jeet Singh told reporters that they received insider information that Leopard skins were bound for Delhi for sale. The STF blocked a jeep and recovered three leopard skin, a local revolver, bullets and two hunting knife. A case has been registered at the Cantt Polica station against the three.

The arrested ones are:

1) Attar Singh Chauhan, village Jatasari, Jubbal, Shimla (HP)
2) Subhash Dobhal, village Katiyan, Tyuni, Dehradun
3) Mahendra Pawar, village Badiya Devdhar, Tyuni, Dehradun

The one person who was able to escape was named as Ramesh Chauhan, Jubbal, Himachal.

 

THE BOTTOMLINE

It remains to be seen that how rigorous is the law against such heinous crime. Uttarakhand always have been a hotbed for wild cats and probably the highest number pf poaching incidents happens in this northern state of India. However, cases go on for years and more likely than not the suspects goes scot-free. And back again to their hunting best. It would be interesting to see if we ever hear back about this case in local newspapers or will this be just another flash in pan.