The fear of a man-eating leopard continues to haunt people living in and around Raiwala on the Haridwar-Dehradun-Rishikesh highway. A labourer was killed by a leopard in the affected area on Monday morning. Thirty-seven year old Kala Singh and seven other persons were sleeping on the roof of a forest post near Nepali farm. The jungle cat attacked and killed Kala Singh, who was sleeping at one corner of the roof.
This incident has forced the Uttarakhand forest department to intensify efforts to nab the leopard. The state forest department has issued orders to identify, capture or hunt the leopard, which has become dangerous for human life.
This is the third incident in a span of 35 days. On 9 May, Sampati Devi was killed by the man-eater leopard while she had gone to collect fuel wood. Last month, Tekchand from Haryana was killed by the feline when the tourist had gone to attend nature’s call. Sixteen persons have lost their lives in the past four years in a small patch of about 12 km- starting from Motichur.
The Motichur to Nepali farm area remains the area most affected by man-animal conflict in Uttarakhand. With the growing incidents, the Rajaji Tiger Reserve sought permission from Uttarakhand’s chief wildlife warden D V S Khati to shoot down the man-eater.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve’s director Sanatan Sonker said, “We have received permission to shoot the man-eater leopard.” The busy Haridwar-Dehradun-Rishikesh has witnessed a bloody man-animal conflict since 2014. Camera traps were installed in different parts of the affected area, falling under the control of Rajaji Tiger Reserve. The results obtained from camera traps indicate the presence of over a dozen leopards in the affected area from Motichur to Napali Farm.
The scene is alarming as in the last 5 years about 11 leopards were trapped, by fixing cages, and moved to another part of the tiger reserve. The latest incident took place in the early hours. Even the presence of eight persons failed to create fear and force the leopard to flee. The man-eater executed the operation silently and the other persons came to know about the incident when they heard the sound of something falling from the roof.