Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: Former Union Minister and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has condemned the killing of a leopard by the police at Chelakara in Thrissur district on Sunday.

Ms. Gandhi, who is also chairperson of the People For Animals (PFA), called for strong action against the policemen who killed the animal. Talking to The Hindu on the telephone on Tuesday, she alleged that wrong methods were used to sedate the leopard that got caught in a snare. This was de facto torture of the animal and it drove the animal into a defensive mood. She said that authorities failed to realise that the leopard was as valuable as the tiger. According to information gathered by her, on an average at least two to three leopards are being killed in the country every day. Only less that 3,000 leopards are left in the country and if the annihilation continues unabated, the leopard will disappear much before the tiger.

Anyone who kills a leopard should immediately be taken into custody, she said alleging that that in many villages leopards were wantonly killed and the forest authorities did not take any action.

Meanwhile, animal lovers in the State have registered their protest against the incident. They said that though Thrissur district had no dearth of professionals who could handle the situation, they were not called in to the site. Instead, those who had no experience in handling such situations were given a free hand.

The very fact that three darts of sedative shot did not strike the animal exposes their inexperience. Even the pole syringe used in the end was a crude device. They expressed doubts whether the right dissociative anesthesia for large cats was used in the dart.

The Thrissur Elephant Lovers Association has sent petitions to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister demanding action against those responsible for the killing.