Panic in Shopian after leopards spotted, ‘stay calm,’ says Wildlife Dept

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Shopian: Panic has gripped different areas of Shopian after a leopard was spotted by locals at different spots on Saturday.

Locals from the Pargochi, Pinjoora, Meemandar and its adjacent areas told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that they spotted a leopard in the area and accordingly informed the concerned department.

They said that the presence of leopard has created panic among local residents and requested wildlife authorities to capture the animal at the earliest for the safety of people along with their livestock.

Wildlife officials said that they have been after the wild animals from last three months in the district, however, non- cooperation of people is hampering their work.

Mudasir Ahmad, in-charge wildlife control room in Shopian told KNO that their teams are in the area to capture the wild animal.

He said that people at most of the places are not cooperating with them which is badly hampering their work and non-cooperation of people can prove fatal sometimes.

He said that they have already captured over half dozen leopards this year and have been spending day and night in orchards and residential areas to ensure safety of people along with their livestock.

He said that if people will cooperate, they can capture wild animal within 15 minutes but non- cooperation from the public is hampering their work.

The official requested them to inform them on time if they come to know about wild animals roaming in any area and cooperate with the department.

“The breakdown of food chain and fragmentation of their habitation is forcing wild animals to move towards residential areas for which humans are responsible,” the official said.

On February 22, this year, the leopard injured several locals along with some wildlife officials in the same village, however, the leopard was captured by the wildlife officials. Interestingly, on March 4, a huge leopard was also captured by the department after spending several days in Heff Shirmal area of Shopian. Two leopards were killed by locals in retaliation after they attacked them. The leopards were killed in Dairoo, Shopian and Pathan, Pulwama while one was rescued by locals in Payer Pulwama—(KNO)

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