Cases registered under IPC and Wildlife Protection Act

A leopard that strayed into human habitation near the Omkara range of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve has died of poisoning.

The incident occurred at Alatthur village where the leopard had killed a cow. A few local people had poisoned the carcass fully aware that the leopard would return to eat its prey.

Forest Department staff, who learnt of the leopard’s death on Saturday, reached the spot and examined the leopard’s carcass. They confirmed that the leopard’s death was due to poisoning.

H.C. Kantharaj, director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu that viscera of the leopard and the cow would be sent to the laboratory for analysis. “It is a case of poisoning and we have lodged a police complaint at Begur. Cases have been registered under both the Indian Penal Code and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” he said.

Meanwhile, a wildlife activist said that though the Forest Department compensates village residents for the loss of livestock due to predator attacks, poisoning carcass to kill the predator indicates an undercurrent of fear prevailing in the villages adjoining forests and this did not augur well for conservation.

The incident is a grim reminder of escalating man-animal conflict on the fringes of forests and national parks. In another incident at Hanchipura, a predator attack on livestock has forced the Forest Department authorities to track the animal by installing cameras. There are fears that a tiger is on the prowl and the recent death of five persons due to tiger attacks on the fringes of Bandipur and Nagarahole is still fresh in the mind of the public.

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