Man-animal conflict flares up in Poonch, India


October 30, 2007- WITH MILITANCY on the wane, though temporarily, the frontier district of Poonch is caught up in different kind of violence. Man-animal conflict is taking dangerous turns.

According to the Forest and Wildlife officials, irate residents of a Poonch village axed a female bear and her two cubs to death after they attacked some boys in the area.

The bears strayed into Bedar village in Sabzian area of the district and mauled some boys after which angry locals attacked them, officials stated. The villagers carrying torches attacked the female bear and her cubs with axes.

Earlier, the villagers had killed three wild bears in same area. A team of forest officials recovered the bodies of the three beasts, the next day. One of them was full grown female while two others were young ones – one male and the other female.

According to some village elders, people of the area were terrorised by the attack of bears, therefore, they wanted to get rid of them. Many people have fallen victims to the bears but the authorities concerned did not bother to do anything in this regard.

It may be recalled that last month, a team of forest department officials recovered a snow leopard’s body with multiple injures in the neck, from Bafliaz area in the Pir-Panjal ranges of Surankote tehsil. This was the first instance of the killing of a snow leopard in Pir-Panjal ranges in the last two decades.

This recent spate of killings of a snow leopard and the wild bears in Poonch district is a dangerous trend. Snow leopard, black bear, leopard, goral, hog deer, musk deer, jungle cat, monal pheasant, partridge, quail and chakor will be extinct, if adequate protection is not provided to them.

In fact, the claims of the presence of a rare species like the snow leopard in Poonch and Rajouri, if true, calls for quick measures to rescue them. This will be in keeping with the present global emphasis on giving wildlife its due sanctuaries. The danger otherwise is that the wildlife may hunt human habitations. Indeed, this is what has been happening in Poonch and Rajouri every now and then.

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