There has recently been a rise in the population of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh. So it was not entirely a surprise when a snow leopard was spotted in a residential area in a village.
Far too often, residents end up killing such creatures when they encounter them near their own homes. In this case, thankfully, the villagers chose to capture the snow leopard and release it back in its own habitat (video above).
Across India, attacks by animals such as leopards are not uncommon, especially in areas like Uttarakhand and West Bengal. However, what is far more common are attacks on leopards by human beings. In January and February 2018 alone, 106 leopards died, with inly 12 of the deaths being ascribed to natural causes. In 2017, there were 431 leopard deaths according to the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
“There is need for better planning and joint action, not just at the policy level, but on the ground, to ensure core forest areas are not easily accessible to the public. Better protocol in urban areas to ensure man-animal contact is controlled, and developmental projects are planned without disturbing the habitat of these large carnivores,” said Tito Joseph, programme coordinator at WPSI. An expert added in the report that the Centre needs to focus on keeping animals in the forest, explaining that increasing contact with humans is causing deaths. What is needed even more, said the President of the Wildlife Conservation Trust, is sensitivity of humans towards these species.