Anger seems to be boiling among Dangs villagers as the number of people being killed by leopards is rising by the day. However, senior forest department officials are paying no heed to the issue, although they were camping in the affected villages on Monday. The villagers allegedly torched a portion of forest on Sunday to hackle the man-eater leopard. Forest officials admitted that the fire was not natural and it was put by the villagers. In last two months, leopards have killed at least eight persons, including three children and have injured about three in villages in Dangs (south) range. The last incident had taken place on Saturday when Kakduben Gawit, 56, living in Waghmal village in Waghai, was dragged by the leopard. The lady eventually died due to excessive blood loss. Before that leopards have already targeted Sanjanaben Nimbare, 4, Thaguben Pawar, 60, Ajay Pawar, 5, Sunandaben Gamit, 16 and Bharjuben Pawar, 55. These villagers were from Amsarvalan, Lavaria, Vangan, Borpada and Waghmal which are situated in close vicinity. "The teams from Geer Foundation and Geer forest have already joined hands with us and are working on the issue. We are adopting all possible plans to put an end to the rising number of attacks on humans. We are not sure if it is only one leopard which is responsible for all the deaths because the pug marks are not corroborating with the statements given by the villagers,' Bharatsinh Waghela, deputy conservator of forests, Dangs (south), said. The villagers, on the other hand, alleged that despite incidents have been occurring since the last three months, forest officials have ignored the issue. "They place the cage and leave the place, which is not the solution. With no other option left, we have now formed teams comprising of men from villages. We patrol the village during nights. Forest officials have failed to help us, forcing us to adopt our own methods to get a solution,' Prakash Birari, deputy sarpanch of Waghmal village, said. Villagers torched jungle: Officials Forest officials admitted that villagers on Sunday had torched a small part of the forest to tackle the leopard. "Villagers apparently saw a leopard sneaking into the village boundary and put a small part of the forest on fire. When the animal went towards the jungle, the villagers gathered some dry leaves and burnt them. no damage was caused in the jungle or to the wildlife due to the fire,' DCF Bharatsinh Waghela said.


It was a night-long ordeal for the villagers of Aberi, near Rampur, when a leopard entered houses and labour huts, injuring about 20 persons, with one of them struggling for life at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) here. It was at about 3 am last night that a leopard entered a house in Aberi village and injured two women, Meera Devi and Dou Devi. After attacking the women the leopard entered the cowshed, where the family members bolted the door from outside. The village located across the Sutlej, opposite the Nogli area of Rampur falls in the Ani subdivision of Kullu district. According to forest officials, the leopard almost 10 feet-long broke open the door of the cowshed and fled. It was after leaving a trail of injuries through the night that that the leopard was finally tarnquilised by the wildlife wing of the Forest Department late in the evening today. After breaking open the door of the cow shed, it was the turn of the labour engaged by Gable India Ltd, who became the victim of the leopard. The labourers, working on the Rampur hydroelectric project were fast asleep when the predator attacked them, leaving 15 of them injured. One of them has been admitted to the IGMC in a critical state, while the remaining have been admitted to the Mahatam Gandhi Hospital at Rampur. The villagers finally managed to put an end to the terror of the leopard, when he entered a concrete house. The villagers locked him up and summoned the forest and local administration. However, it was only after injuring a forest guard, Jia Lal, who had entered the room to shoot at the animal with a tranquiliser gun that the leopard became quiet. The Ani SDM and the Rampur DFO along with other staff arrived at the spot to bring the animal under control.

In order to savour our natural heritage, it is high time to save it, but it is not for the Forest Departments of the states who are the custodians alone to handle this delicate business, especially due to the red tape and other pressures inherent in the govt set up and system of working where their hands are tied.

A leopard entered the verandah of a house in Lamgao-Bicholim on Thursday, as wild cats have continued to haunt residents of Bicholim taluka. Animal Rescue Squad Chief Amrut Singh told Herald that a leopard entered the verandah of the house owned by one Desai, in an attempt to kill a domestic cat. Officials of the forest department later visited the site on hearing the news. In a similar case, a leopard is believed to have attacked a dog that was tied in the verandah of the house belonging to one Shripati Khedekar at Naiginim-Bicholim. The family switched on the lights at night after hearing a commotion and the wild cat fled under the cover of darkness. The dog was later treated for injuries from the attack. Meanwhile, the forest department has made concerted efforts to catch wild cats who have caused panic in Bicholim taluka. A number of traps have been laid at Lamgao and Kudchirem.

In a bid to conserve the avian wild life, industrial, residential and commercial activities have been banned within 2- km area surrounding three sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh. The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by divisional commissioner (Ujjain) S.K. Vashishth under the directives of the Supreme Court and the Madhya Pradesh government yesterday. Official sources said such activities were prohibited around the division's Gandhi Sagar, Khiwani and Kharmour sanctuaries. Mandsaur district-based Gandhisagar sanctuary, spread over 368 sq km area, was a haven for myriad significant birds, including endangered species of vulture. Besides avian life, it also had murals, Takhaji temple and Hinglajgarh fort.

Pretoria: South Africa said on Monday that it will start killing elephants in order to reduce their burgeoning numbers, ending a 13-year ban and possibly setting a precedent for other African nations. Environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the government was left with no choice but to reintroduce killing elephants "as a last option and under very strict conditions' to reduce environmental degradation and rising conflicts with humans. There will be no "wholesale slaughter,' he told reporters. The announcement follows months of impassioned debate, with some conservationists arguing for elephant killings to protect the ecosystem, and animal welfare groups outraged at the prospect of slaughtering one of the planet's most intelligent and self-aware creatures. South Africa has been hugely successful in protecting its elephant population, once on the verge of extinction in parts of the country. But it has become a victim of its own success. The number of elephants, which have no natural predators other than humans, is growing at a rate of more than 5% a year and is expected to double by 2020. The big white hunter in the 1800s brought Africa's elephants near to extinction. Now South Africa, Namibia and Botswana have booming populations because of conservation efforts, while those of east and west African nations are struggling because of large-scale poaching. AP

The Centre-sponsored Project Tiger Scheme has sent out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to states as part of a new Five Year Plan that has allocated Rs 600 crore for the cause of the tiger. In keeping with the new-found urgency to preserve the dwindling numbers of tigers, the MoU has asked for all progress to be monitored through photo catalogues and videographing. There are 28 tiger reserves in 17 states. "So far, the states have not had any scope for reciprocal commitment in terms of tiger conservation. We have found that conservation of the tiger is a shared responsibility which the states have to commit to through the MoU. After the MoU has been signed, the Centre will release fund for Project Tiger in the new fiscal year in March,' said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority. In a meeting last week, the Prime Minister had reviewed the new tiger census, and had asked chief ministers to take "personal responsibility' for the tigers in their states. The tiger count is at an all time low with only 1,411 in the wild. "The scheme will be strictly monitored. All activities will have to be catalogued through photos. For some activities, we will ask for videographing for our permanent records. For activities like relocation of tribals from critical tiger habitats, we will have photo cataloguing at every stage,' Gopal stressed. More than 70 per cent of the budgetary allocations have been done for facilitating rehabilitation of tribals and people living in the critical or core tiger habitats. Out of Rs 600 crore, Rs 345 crore has been allocated for deciding inviolate spaces for wildlife and relocation of villagers from reserves within a timeframe, which includes a revised pay package of Rs 10 lakh per family for relocation. While states have to delineate buffer zones, extending up to 10 km from tiger reserves, families living in buffer zones will be involved in eco-tourism. This means that the tiger's critical habitat within the reserves will not be disturbed by the Forest Rights Act. The security net

Deterrent: Subrat Mohapatra, District Forest Officer (left), inspecting fence erected along Semmalai reserve forest in Tiruchi district The Forest Department has erected solar-powered electric fence on some stretches along the periphery of a few Reserve Forests in the district in an effort to prevent animals from entering human habitations and damaging crops. The work has been carried out to a total length of 15 km along the boundary of Semmalai and Karupureddypatti in Manapparai range; Pulivalam, Omandur and Vellakalpatti in Tiruchi range. The Department spent Rs.24 lakh for the work executed under the State Wildlife Scheme. The fence in Semmalai and Karupureddypatti have been erected to a length of 2.5 km each, 3 km each in Pulivalam and Vellakalpatti and four km in Omandur. The fencing work was carried out following frequent complaints from villagers that animals such as Indian gaur, wild boar and deer were damaging their crops. District Forest Officer Subrat Mohapatra said that animals entered villages in search of water, especially in summer. The low voltage impulse from the fence would act as a deterrent and not harm the animals, said Mr. Mohapatra. To meet the water needs of animals, the department planned to establish small percolation ponds inside the forest. Tiruchi district has a total of 86 Reserve Forests. The department planned to carry out fencing work to a total length of 30 km during the next financial year.

The forest guards who had accompanied the 110-strong herd of jumbos, which had left a trail of death and destruction in three districts, up to the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), had breathed a sigh of relief too soon. Hardly had one week elapsed when the herd split and 70 per cent of the mammoths are wending their way back wreaking havoc in their wake. Yesterday night, 14 huts were destroyed at Dainigaon near Nimatighat.