... as suspicion falls on farmers over rising number of big cat deaths
A day after a four-year-old tiger died in a road accident in Haridwar, the carcass of an adult leopard was found near Gauratpur Bass village in the foothills of the Aravallis in Gurugram district on Sunday.
Locals said that this was the second incident of a dead leopard being found near the village in the last five months, with a three-month-old leopard cub found injured in the same vicinity on December 5, 2015.
While district wildlife officials have declared it a natural death, local sources claim that foul play cannot be ruled out considering the number of farmhouses situated in the area.
The carcasses of big cats have previously been found in the foothills of the Aravallis. The remains of four leopards were found on the ITC golf course in April 2014. (file pic)
According to wildlife conservator of forests Rambir Singh, the carcass of a big cat was found with its back in a decomposed state. However, the front part of the body was intact, hinting at a natural death. “It appears to have died of hunger and lack of water. We have conducted a post-mortem and are waiting for the result to ascertain the cause of death, its age and gender,” the conservator said.
It is not new for the carcasses of big cats to be found in the Aravallis region, along Gurugram district. In fact, four leopard carcasses were found around the ITC golf course in April 2014.
The latest incident has triggered sharp reactions from wildlife activists and environmentalists. “We may never know how this poor leopard died. But every leopard lost in the Aravallis is a matter of concern. They are the guardians of this precious range of hills that are the only hope for an environmentally secure NCR. We must do everything possible to keep the Aravalis and the wild leopards that still live there, safe”, Belinda Wright, executive director, wildlife protection society of India.
Villagers hinted that three farmhouses were under suspicion during the rescue of the injured leopard cub in December. They claimed that leopard cub was held captive for some days in one of the farmhouses. “There was a foul smell coming from among the bushes near the farmhouse for a couple of days. The smell was unbearable. When we went to look into the matter, we found the body of decomposed leopard,” said Baliram Singh, a resident of Gairatpur Bass village.
He added that an injured leopard cub was found near the same spot last December.