BARAMULLA — “Children and elderly are scared here for the past several days. Man-eating animals have created chaos here,” says Mohammad Hussain, an elderly local of Dhanisyedan village of Uri, where a minor girl was taken away by a leopard, last evening the body of whom was later found in a nearby orchard.
He said that nobody dares to venture out during the day, let alone during evening hours.
Muhammad Afzal, another local, said that the area has been badly affected over the past few months because the man-eating animal has not been caught yet and it continues to be a big threat. “We don’t even let our young children go to school because of fear.”
A group of locals from Uri told the news agency KNO, “We are restless and indecisive. The administration has failed to address the issue.”
Ishfaq Ahmad, another local, said that they can’t bear that the lives of these little children are lost. He said the administration should further increase its operations to kill or tranquilise the animal.
“Only a mother can tell the value of her children. How painful losing a child to an animal is, only a mother can narrate,” Taja Begum, another woman, said.
On September 16, a minor was taken away by a leopard outside her home in Gawashar village of Uri following which her body was found. Late yesterday evening, another minor boy was taken away by the same animal and the body of this child was later also found by the locals. In the month of June this year, the animal similarly made three small children its prey here.
“We’ve urged people not to go out to the fields alone but do so only in groups. While we are trying all possible ways to trap or kill the animal, we need the co-operation of the common people for them to stay safe,” an official said.
He said that their operations along with the teams of the Wildlife Protection department, police and sharpshooters continue to find or kill this man-eating animal. “However, our hard work is not paying off yet. It is also possible that the animal might have shifted to another place in view of the disturbance in the area,” he added.
In an advisory, the Wildlife Protection department said that children and women are more vulnerable to leopard and bear attacks, which can be contained if they move in groups or children are accompanied by an elderly person and always move on regular forest paths and avoid shortcuts.
“Avoid going to forests for collection of wood etc. in early morning or evening hours, which is the peak activity time for leopards. Do not chase or try to go near to a wild animal if sighted from a distance in the forest areas,” the official said.
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