A recent survey has revealed shocking statistics of a leopard death every week since January 1st, 2018 in Rajasthan. A major number of these deaths are due to unnatural causes. Some of the major causes of death of the spotted felines are electrocution, road-accidents or due to man-animal conflict. In the survey conducted by the Wildlife Protection Society of India(WPSI), it was found that there have been a total of 15 leopard deaths in Rajasthan in as many weeks in 2018. Conservationists and wildlife lovers allege the apathy of the forest department towards the leopard as one of the main causes for this sorry scenario. A spokesperson from People for Animals(PFA)mentioned the lessening of prey-base due to the increase of predators in the areas a major cause of animals straying out into human locality, which leads to a major man-animal conflict. The Forest and environment minister, Mr Gajendra Singh Khimsar said that the leopard population in the state is on the rise, leading to more animals straying out into habitations and agricultural fields. Mr Khimsar  also said, ” The deaths are occurring when animals stray out and are unaware of speeding cars and electric poles.” He also mentioned the scanty rainfall and un-filled watering holes as a concern and promised installation of solar pumps at a war-footing scale. The reduction in the prey base of the big cats is seen as a major issue, which forces the leopards to stray to human colonies in search of alternate prey base- the domesticated animals in farms. A spokesperson at the Jawai Bandh Leopard Conservation Reserve(JBLCR) mentioned the low prey base in the protected areas and said “ Leopards here majorly depend on livestock. If this situation continues, people will lose patience and man-animal conflict might increase as the process to receive compensation for livestock killed by wild animals is tedious. Nearly five years ago, a rehabilitation centre was constructed in JBLCR where it was proposed that herbivorous would be released to add to the prey base. However, nothing has been done so far.” The leopards in spite of being listed at par with tigers in the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act(WPA) of 1972, are currently being treated as second-class citizens of the animal kingdom, and are dying due to the apathy of the authorities.

— As reported by TOI
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