The rapid changes taking place in the forest eco system, mainly owing to excessive human intervention and climate change, has been leading to frequent straying of wild animals into human habitation in the forest areas of Konni and Ranni in recent times.

The sad fate of a male leopard that had strayed into the small hamlet of Iyravon nestling on the borders of the  Kummannoor forests in Konni Forest division on Sunday was the latest in the series of man-animal conflicts taking place in this part of the State during the past six months.

The leopard that strayed into the bordering village had sent panic waves among the hapless villagers. The spontaneous reaction of the panicky people to ensure their protection from the wild beast had resulted in the death of the leopard, later. Meanwhile, the violent animal had also attacked a few people in a stressful mood.

This is the second leopard that had met with a similar fate along the forest fringes in the district during the past five months. A ferocious female leopard that had strayed into the village of Angamoozhy in the adjoining Ranni Forest division was killed by an unruly mob, earlier, in February.

According to villagers, instances of leopards, king cobras, wild elephants, etc, straying into the villages along the forest fringes have become more frequent in recent times. They attribute this to the growing menace of poaching, illicit brewing in the forest areas of Konni, especially Kummannoor and surrounding areas.

Excessive human intervention in the forests have led to depletion of green cover in many areas.

The mushrooming of granite quarries along the forest borders has also been leading to drastic changes in the forest eco system, forcing the wild fauna to stray out from their natural habitats, say experts. Unscrupulous quarrying of rocks has reportedly resulted in drastic depletion of the ground water table in the region and this amply justifies the straying out of wild animals from the forests, they added.

The Rapid Response Team constituted by the Ranni Divisional Forest Officer, R.Kamalahar, has already rescued as many as 133 wild animals belonging to 18 species from the villages adjoining the forests during

the past eight months.

However, sources attached to Forest department confided that the department was yet to be made properly equipped to face the challenges posed by ferocious wild animals straying out into human habitation.

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