Staff Reporter

Workshop on threatened wildlife held

KOZHIKODE: Translocation of the leopard trapped by local people is not a remedy, experts, who attended a workshop on ``Threatened wildlife of Wayanad,'' have said. The workshop was organised by the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology.

The first priority should be to improve the growth inside the forest so that sufficient pry population was available in the forest itself, they said. This would prevent wild animals coming out of the forest. Also, detailed studies should be conducted in the habitat of leopards, to identify territory, number of leopards, feeding habits, etc. This would help to take appropriate action to reduce the conflicts, it was pointed out.

Since the leopard cubs remained with the parents for two years, it increased the visibility and once it grew up, it had to search for its own new territory.

Local people were not aware of the life cycle of the leopard. When they saw a leopard they were frightened and sought the Forest Department help to place traps. Once it was trapped, hundreds of people came to see the leopard in cage. This makes the leopard angry and creates physical injuries.

The injured leopard was then released in another site. If it happened to be in the territory of another leopard or tiger, a fight would break out. During the fight, the trapped leopard might die, as it was physically weak. So before translocating leopards, the area should be carefully studied.

Even after releasing it, the leopard should be monitored for some time. This could be done by installing a radio chip or doing phototrap systems.

One suggestion that came up was media should not give much publicity when a leopard was trapped. The workshop also dealt with the conservation issues of Heronries of Wayanad and emerging human-animal conflicts in the district.

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