Man Eaters of the Northern Tea Gardens

Leopard AttackIn this photo taken Tuesday, July 19, 2011, a leopard runs to escape after attacking a forest guard at Prakash Nagar village near Salugara, on the outskirts of Siliguri, India. The leopard strayed into the village area and mauled several villagers, including three guards, before being caught by forest officials, according to news reports. The leopard, which suffered injuries caused by knives and batons, died later in the evening at a veterinary center. (AP Photo)

Big Cats are illusive creatures. Among all big cats, Leopards are most illusive and superior species. They can live in extreme climate and in all kinds of terrain, from cold deserts to arid desert, in mountains and in the tropical rain forest. They have marvellous adaptability and can survive alongside human habitats without indulging in conflicts.
However, recent activities in the Tea Gardens of the Dooars region display an extremely different trend. About 420 incidents involving Leopard attack has been recorded in this region between 2000 to 2016.

Within the last 15 days, Leopards have attacked and killed 3 children in Ramjhora, Dumchipara and Garganda Tea estates. It’s possible that one single leopard is responsible for these three incidents. If so then a man-eater leopard may be on the move and it’s a matter of great concern. There are high chances that this leopard is injured and needs help and treatment. If this issue remains unattended, many more human life will be at stake and villagers around this area will have to face the consequences.

Jim Corbett’s sensational stories of the man-eaters of Kumayon and Champawatt have attracted my attention since childhood. Stories apart, real-life experiences are entirely different and nerve wrecking. After dark, the wild forested region around my home in Madarihat becomes a nightmare. After hearing stories of brutal leopard attack merely 8 km away, tends to freeze the blood in the veins. It restricts a deep sleep and a fearful sensation knocks the brain all night long. People living in Kuchha houses experience even more fear. The big question now is ” how long such a fear is gonna last ?”

Leopard Attack

In this photo taken Tuesday, July 19, 2011, a leopard runs to escape after attacking a forest guard at Prakash Nagar village near Salugara, on the outskirts of Siliguri, India. The leopard strayed into the village area and mauled several villagers, including three guards, before being caught by forest officials, according to news reports. The leopard, which suffered injuries caused by knives and batons, died later in the evening at a veterinary center. (AP Photo)

The need of this hour is to employ wildlife scientists and experts in the Forest Department in order to study and understand the nature and trends of leopard movement in this region. It’s also advisable to take the help of local NGOs and Volunteers. This massacre must be stopped immediately.

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After all, We can’t teach wild leopards to learn human emotions instead human beings have to understand that deforestation and destruction of wildlife will result in great danger, not only for wildlife but also ourselves.

Writes: Sudeep Ray


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