Shrinking forests forcing leopards into human habitation

Conversion of wildlife zones into layouts leading to man-animal conflict

Incidents of leopards entering human habitations and attacking domestic animals have increased in the recent past. In the last three years Forest department personnel have trapped 42 leopards in Mysuru and the surrounding areas.

According to wildlife activists, depleting forest cover and increase in human occupancy has forced the wild animals to enter human habitats. In recent years, the forest cover has declined due to development of new residential layouts and conversion of agricultural lands into layouts which is forcing animals to enter human habitats.

Chamundi Hills, near the city, is home to leopards in this region, and the big cats are often sighted near residential areas located on the foot of the hill. Even though the Forest department has been trapping the big cats, the leopards are often sighted near K Kammanahalli on Gaddige Road, Nagartahalli in Jayapura hobli and near Chitravana Resort on Manandavadi Road. A forest official said they have placed cages in these places to trap animals.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) K Karikalan said the department has captured 42 leopards in Mysuru, T Narasipur, Nanjangud and H D Kote taluks in three years. This year, the department personnel have trapped 10 big cats in different places. According to the official, a leopard can travel 15 km a day and they prey on dogs and cattle. He said human beings need not bother as animals do not attack them unnecessarily.

Last Sunday, Forest department personnel trapped a female leopard in a cage on the premises of Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) on the outskirts of the city. The leopard, believed to be around one-and-a-half-years old, was spotted two weeks ago and its movements were captured on a CCTV camera installed on the premises. Forest department personnel then placed a cage to trap the stray leopard and later released the big cat in Sollepur Forest area.
DH News Service

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