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Shoot-at-sight orders issued for leopard in Gujarat

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The big cat is said to have claimed the lives of as many as 17 people in the Visavadar Bagasara forest area near Gir Forest in Saurashtra

Gujarat’s Forest Department has launched a mega operation involving 150 officials, seven sharp shooters, set up 30 cages at different locations, 15 night vision cameras installed to either catch alive or kill a leopard that has claimed the lives of as many as 17 people, including two in as many days, in the Visavadar Bagasara forest area near Gir Forest in Saurashtra.

The Forest Department issued shoot-at-sight orders after a leopard killed two persons since Thursday in Gujarat’s Amreli district.

On Thursday, the animal killed Vaju Borad, a farm labour in a village in Bagasara taluka of Amreli district. The following day, another man was injured in a leopard attack in the same village. On Saturday, a big cat attacked another farm labourer from Rajasthan in Munjiyasar around 3.15 a.m. Later, the labourer succumbed to his injuries.

“This leopard has terrorised their entire area in Visavadar and Bagasara talukas. We have been asking the Forest Department to get us rid of this for last several months. If the department is unable to catch it, locals will be forced to kill it,” said Visavadar legislator Harshad Ribadia.

He added that the leopard had killed 17 persons, mostly farmers or farm labourers in the region in the last one year. It mostly attacks huts or houses in the agriculture fields at night where labourers are sleeping in huts or in the open.

According to him, the leopard population in the region has gone up and as a result, the animals have now ventured out of forest areas and live in revenue areas where people have their farms.

“The Forest Department along with local police have launched a mega exercise to catch or kill the rogue leopard in Visavadar Bagasara range,” said a forest official from Junagadh division.

As part of elaborate operation, 30 cages have been set up and 10 km radius areas in Bagasara has been cordoned off with appeal to farmers and labourers to not go in open fields at night.

Drones have also been deployed at water bodies where the “rogue” leopard has been sighted by farmers and locals.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 2:13:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shoot-at-sight-orders-issued-for-leopard-in-gujarat/article30236686.ece

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