Leopards spotted on many occasions in Budgam, claim residents

‘Cleaning nursery on time could have saved life of 4-year old girl’

Afaq Bhat

Srinagar: After a heart wrenching incident of a leopard taking away a 4-year old girl at Ompura in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, authorities announced slew of measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The measures include immediate removal of fallen material and other cultural operations at Ompora forests and other risk areas forthwith in order to avoid any further loss of life and property in the area.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) , PP Division Budgam has been asked to take immediate steps for erection and strengthening of existing chain-link fencing at Ompora forests and will also submit DPR to the higher authorities for sanction of funds.

He was also directed to process the proposal/ case for sanction of thinning of the forest immediately.

Wild life Warden Budgam has been asked to deploy staff well equipped with machinery for elimination of the wild animal (leopard) which has turned a man-eater after obtaining sanction from the competent authority.

A resident while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “It’s not for the first time that a leopard appeared in any area of Budgam. Leopards have been moving around in the district for a long time and people have time and again informed the authorities about the movement of wild animals. These measures should have been taken long back. One hopes that the directions that have been passed are implemented in letter and spirit so that no other unfortunate incident takes place in future.”

The resident said that had the officials acted on time by tracing the leopards or cleaning the nursery, the life of the 4-year old girl could have been saved.

An observer said, “Incidents of man-animal conflict have been on rise in Kashmir. Wild animals are venturing into the residential areas due to human intervention into their habitations. Leopard killing a minor girl has sent shockwaves across the Valley and has left people worried. Corrective measures need to be taken before it becomes too late.”

He said, “Forest areas have to be left untouched so that wild animals don’t venture into the colonies that have been established near the forest areas. The Wildlife Department has to remain more vigilant and careful in the forest areas that are close to the human habitations. If we have to prevent the incidents of man-animal conflicts in future things have to change. The district administration Budgam has made a beginning by acting tough and the officials in other areas should take a cue from it.”

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