Thursday, July 21, 2011


Kolkata, India (AP) - A snarling leopard mauled 11 people in an Indian village and terrorized wildlife officials trying to drive it away before it was tranquilized and died of injuries from the fierce showdown.  Forestry officials were forced to flee, dive for cover and even climb up on a jeep to escape the adult, male leopard’s attacks in West Bengal state.  At one point, the big cat leapt through the air, fangs bared, and tackled a man, clutching him in its giant paws as it knocked him off the wall he was standing on.  The wildlife officials - wearing protective helmets and carrying batons and tranquilizer guns - had hoped to drive the cat into a nearby wildlife sanctuary after it wandered into the village near Siliguri, about 600 kilometres from Kolkata.  But the leopard stood its ground, crouching on a wall, hissing and attacking those who came near.

It injured six villagers, a policeman and four forest guards before being hit with a tranquilizer gun Tuesday. The people are recovering from their injuries, mostly swipes from the cat’s claws.  Forest official Dharma Dev Rai says villagers used knives, stones and batons to beat back the cat.  The cat died within hours after the showdown, and a post mortem is being conducted.  Leopards are protected in India, though more are straying into villages for food.  “It was spotted near a house in the morning by villagers who raised an alarm, and this startled the leopard. With the villagers trying to chase it, it tried to flee and injured five villagers in the process. Then, the leopard took shelter in an abandoned house,” Kanchan Banerjee, forest ranger of the Sukna Wildlife Range, told The Hindu on the phone.

A leopard has mauled 11 people in an Indian village and terrorised wildlife officials trying to drive it away.  The leopard strayed into the village area and attacked several villagers, including at least four guards, before being caught by forest officials.  he leopard, which suffered injuries caused by knives and batons, died later in the evening at a veterinary center.  It is just very sad to see how huge Companies and International Corporations have taken over areas belonging to wild animals' natural habitats and it make locals people from villages stay near the sanctuaries - whose boundaries are not clearly fixed - in order to have jobs with them.  

Up to the last century India was covered with thick forest land. However, everything changed when the British government set up the Indian Forestry Department to exploit the forests. From the beginning of the nineteenth century Britain had systematically felled large areas of virgin Indian forests mainly to meet the ever-expanding needs of her ship-building industry. From 1853 the arrival of the railway in India required further vast amounts of timber for sleepers and for fuelling locomotives.  ... To meet the Empire’s needs, during the nineteenth century the forests were gradually nationalised. In essence these laws meant that much of India’s forests were taken out of the hands of the local people. Villagers were denied rights of access to what had always been theirs. Because the basic connection between the village and its forests has been broken, the tradition of caring for trees, of respecting and even worshipping them, has fallen into disuse.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology” Chapter Two: “The World Forest”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF