Big cats caught in conflict in Telangana

Shrinking of forests for city expansion is forcing wild animals to move out of their habitats in search of food

By   |  Published: 22nd Jan 2020  12:19 amUpdated: 22nd Jan 2020  12:39 am
In January, there have already been two incidents of leopards being captured after they ventured into human habitations.

Hyderabad: The increasing number of sightings of leopards in urban areas and human habitations, the latest being that of a leopard caught while taking a nap on the terrace of a house in Shadnagar, is ringing alarm bells among wildlife enthusiasts and officials.

In January, there have already been two incidents of leopards being captured after they ventured into human habitations, one being in Nalgonda where a five-year-old male leopard walked into a snare intended for wild boars, and the second one was the Shadnagar sleepyhead. Forest officials attribute these leopard adventures as one of the consequences of deforestation.

“Shrinking of forests for city expansion is forcing wildlife to move from their habitats. Leopards do not have any particular area and keep moving around for prey,” said Munindra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Admin).

Another senior forest official said stone quarrying in forests was triggering fear and panic among wildlife as they could not withstand the loud sound. This was another reason for several animals, including leopards, leaving their habitats.

“With deforestation and quarrying, deer, peacocks and other cattle, which are the main prey for leopards, are also leaving forests. If there is no feed available, the big cats will obviously start moving around in search of food. We have created ponds and bore wells to quench their thirst but adequate prey is an issue,” said a senior official. There were several incidents of leopards wandering into human habitations in Telangana last year.

A young male leopard, which gave sleepless nights to officials for around four months, was finally captured from the campus of the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru. The leopard was later released into the Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Nagarkurnool. A reported leopard sighting on the Nizamabad Telangana University campus had forced varsity authorities to postpone examinations, while in June last year, one leopard accidentally fell into an agriculture well in Khanapur of Adilabad. There were also reports of a leopard going on a cattle killing spree in Kadthal, Kandukuru and Yacharam and also in Amangal.

According to Nehru Zoological Park officials, they had rescued several wild animals in the last one year including the ICRISAT leopard, a two-year-old panther from Medak and a bear in Mahbubnagar. On the other hand, to help wild animals find food, the zoo is making efforts along with the Forest Department. “Every three months, we are sending hundreds of deer as prey for carnivores in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, Eturunagaram Forest and Narsapur Forest area,” said M A Hakeem, Deputy Director, Zoo Park.

Worrisome Trend

In Nalgonda a five-year-old male leopard walked into a snare intended for wild boars
A male leopard was captured after four months from the ICRISAT campus
Leopard sighting on Telangana University in Nizamabad forced authorities to postpone exams
In June last year, one leopard accidentally fell into an agriculture well in Khanapur of Adilabad
There were reports of a leopard on a cattle killing spree in Kadthal, Kandukuru, Yacharam and Amangal

Rescued big cat active

Hyderabad: The leopard, which was rescued in Shadnagar town after straying into the residential area and ending up taking a nap on a building on Monday, has become active and consuming food at Nehru Zoological Park.

According to zoo officials, the male leopard, which is around five-years-old, is under observation for 48 hours. “The big cat has recovered fast and his health condition is stable and is physically fit. It will be released to its habitat after a few days,” said an official.

The leopard was found on the roof of a house near the railway station of Shadnagar giving anxious moments to the locals. On receiving information, the police contacted forest department and subsequently, the leopard was tranquilized and shifted to zoo in the city for observation. Meanwhile, another leopard which got trapped in a snare kept for wild boars in an agricultural field in Nalgonda on January 14 has been recuperating fast in the zoo park and will be soon released by forest department.

 


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