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Feature: Locals worried after leopard kill children in Kashmir’s Uri

Bhat Yasir

Wildlife team during a search operation which was launched in MuliNag Dhani-syedian area of Uri Baramulla after two minors were killed by a man-eater leopard. Photo: Bhat Yasir

Syed Abbass Hussein is a wretched father whose child fell prey to a leopard on the evening of 22 September in Moli Nag, North Kashmir’s Uri. Syed’s seven-year-old son, Ali Hussein was captured outside his home and killed by the “man-eater” animal.

Later, with the help of locals, Ali’s body was recovered in a nearby forest.

This was the second fatal attack in seven days in Uri, Kashmir’s border town. On 16 September a minor girl was killed by a leopard in the Jabadar Gawashar area of Bijhama Uri.

In June this year, the leopard killed three minors in the same sub-division. Later, the leopard was eliminated by the wildlife department.

“They were just a few steps away from the home when the leopard came and took one of them,” Abbass, who now lives at his Maternal uncle’s home in Dhanisyedan village, told Maktoob.

Ali was with his brother right outside his house, when he was attacked.

“My elder son.” Who fortunately is safe, “called and came to me. But the light was dim as it was evening time,” Syed said. He said, “I started searching, but due to the unavailability of lights I couldn’t find him.”

“Then the people of my village and mohalla joined me, we found his body in nearby bushes.”

Abdul Qayoom, block officer of Baramulla wildlife department said that they received the information about the leopard attack in the Dhani-Syedan area and reached the spot.

“We reached here at the spot and joined the operation along with locals,” he told Maktoob.

He said that the wildlife team was present there since the minor girl was killed by a leopard.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened after that,” he added.

“So far no clue has been received. It is a large forest area that is why it’s difficult to find him,” Qayoom said.

According to Qayoom, the reason for the frequent attack can be that when the leopard is old and isn’t able to find prey, “children become easy prey.”

Chief wildlife warden Jammu & Kashmir has issued an order, which is valid for 15 days, to eliminate the man-eater leopard only after fulfilling all the possible conditions.

“The sanction accorded above is subject to the fulfilment of following terms and conditions: That it shall be ensured that all efforts to capture the animal through trapping by cages or tranquilizing have not been successful. That proper identification of the leopard be ensured before it is hunted ensuring that no animal is hunt on account of mistaken identity. That it should be also ensured that this permission is not misused by any organization/ individual to avail the opportunity for hunting any other leopard in the area under the garb of this permission.

That the possession of the dead body, if and when hunted, shall be taken over by him. That the postmortem of the dead body of the animal as and when taken over shall be conducted in presence of the Wildlife Warden, North Division, Sopore and the same submitted to this office for reference and record. That the dead body of the animal shall be disposed off by complete burning it to ashes in presence of the Wildlife Warden, North Division, Sopore. That this permission is valid for 15 days only from the date of its issuance,” the order reads.

Clarifying the Involvement of the same leopard in both attacks, An official in the wildlife department said that “staff is monitoring, most probably same, staff was monitoring the situation since last weak. People don’t listen.”

A local resident, Syed Mushtaq Hussain, said that the situation in the area is very bad, “everyone is terrified.” He said “Children are afraid. If a man or woman goes alone anywhere feels their life is in danger.”

“Our children are at great risk, they are not going out of the home. This is happening the first time that the leopard is attacking children,” he added.

Another local resident, Syed Amin Shah, responding to reports in which they were advised to come down from the forest areas, said “the government is telling us to come down from this area. We are the permanent residents of this village, farming here. Why should we come down?”

“Few days before we had requested people to come down but they don’t listen,” A wildlife official said. Courtesy Maktoob Media

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