52 % leopard attacks recorded close to human habitations in Kashmir: Study

By: Ibni Maqbool

Srinagar: A study has revealed that 52 per cent of leopard attacks in Kashmir Valley have been recorded close to human habitations.

The study carried out by J&K’s department of Wildlife Protection and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) lays bare that 52 per cent of the incidents were recorded close to habitation, with 20 per cent occurring close to the homestead.

“Close to 44 per cent of leopard incidents were recorded while the victim was involved in activities involving movement into forested areas (tending livestock, non-timber forest product (NTFP) and firewood collection) but 52 per cent of the incidents were recorded close to habitation, with 20% occurring close to the homestead,” reads the study titled “predator alert”.

The study is based on 73 attacks by leopards on humans in Kashmir Valley between 1996 to 2007.

The data suggested that leopard attacks were more common in the winter -spring seasons. “Most attacks occurred in daylight hours,” the study reveals.

According to the study, 58 per cent of incidents involving leopards resulted in the death.

It has also revealed that leopards primarily attacked the neck region of victims.

Among victims of leopard attacks, the study reveals, the majority of victims fall in pre-school children (<7 years) and school-going children (8-18 years).

As per findings of the study, the leopard attacks are higher in concentration in the Kupwara, Handwara areas (north Kashmir) with some dispersed in Khrew-Khonmoh and Shangus areas also.

“The LISA maps indicated four areas of leopard conflict in the valley. These are the Kupwara, Handwara and Bandipora areas in the north and Shangus region of Anantnag in the south. The leopard conflict was directly proportional to watersheds under forest, patch density, and juxtaposition of the forest and areas away from protected areas,” the document states.

Last week, a five-year-old girl was mauled to death by a leopard in Humhama area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The kid was taken away by a leopard from the lawns of her house when she was playing there on Thursday.  Her mutilated body was found in a nearby forest nursery on Friday.


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