Wildlife Community Network
We believe that the key to ensure the future of leopards along with other wildlife species lies in an integrated approach to conservation that looks not only at the species itself but at the need of local people, land use and the ecosystem as whole. And this approach has led us to launch ‘Project Leopard’
Project Leopard is for the survival of the wild cat with the aim to understand Human-Leopard conflict, their prey base and habitat. In short it’s main aim is leopard conservation by supporting field research, implementing education initiatives in forest ranges and bringing awareness to the conservation issue, with the help and assistance of Forest and Wildlife Department and other organizations naming Wildlife Trust of India and Wild Tiger.
Hoshiarpur is located in North of India and North east of Punjab State situated in Bist Doaba portion of Doaba region. It is situated 31.530 N e 75.920 E at an average elevation of 296 m (971 feet). It was founded according to tradition during early 4th century and was occupied by forces of Maharaja Karnvir Singh in 1809. It is also a part of Indus Valley Civilization. It is situated in the foothills of The Shivalik range which forms The Lower Himalayas. Its atmosphere ranges hot from and humid in summers to cold in winters. Maximum temperature can rise to 44 deg Celsius in June and Minimum temperature can fall to -1 deg Celsius in early January. Its climate is suitable for the cultivation of Citrus, Mango, Litchi, Pomegranate, Plum, Pear, Peach fruits. Especially in rainy season plants grow luxuriantly because of easy availability of moisture in both soil as well as atmosphere. Hoshiarpur is rich in diverse variety of fauna and flora. The deciduous forest cover of Khair and Sheesham provide shelter to various varieties of animals including Wild Boar, Sambhar, Barking Deer etc etc. Its Forest cover is about 109 hectares. Major fruits and Vegetables are grown due to proper drainage of area by Beas river in north and north west and Satluj in south. Dolbaha, Chohal and Mehngrowal dams serve to add to irrigation purposes and add to national beauty as well.
Talking about the human-leopard conflict in Hoshiarpur our team had conversation with the local villagers in Dholwaha Forest range and at Dehrian, and they have revealed that attacks on livestock have increased in the past few years. Reasons????? Can be due to shrinkage of prey base or some other reason? So the project aims to find the reasons behind it. Also leopards were said to be migratory from Himachal Pradesh but now they have become residents of our forests. As known the dholwaha, Bahera and dehrian forests are suitable for the leopards because of dense forest cover, scattered human population and no or very less human interference in the natural world. Therefore if provided with proper habitat and protection we can prepare a good base to enhance leopard population. But what according to us will act as a hurdle is the prey population, as no census has been done in the past, so we don’t have figure to start with and also no figure to compare the results. Therefore estimation of prey base needs to done. It’s said that leopards migrate to Punjab from Himachal Pradesh but why? Lack of prey can be the reason there too. Hence, if provided them with proper prey base and figures can rise in Hoshiarpur in the near future. Presently, population of resident leopards in Hoshiarpur according to the locals and people residing in forest area is estimate to be 3-4, but then numbers rise with the arrival of winters in October i.e. around 10 and out of the resident leopards may be, one is a female with a cub. Therefore adequate conservational steps are needed to protect them.
Coming back to the conflict, leopards preying on livestock in not rare but there’s increase in number of attacks. The question here again is WHY??
We need to find answers to the above questions in order to reach some conclusion.
Some of the common reasons known for attacks on livestock are first of all the stray dogs and ignorant cattle owners who leave their cattle in open at night knowingly that they may fell prey to the wild beast. Once the leopards starts feeding on livestock them he’’ not prefer to hunt it’s natural prey. Apart from it unsafe enclosures are also the reason. If proper care and safety of livestock is kept in mind and stray cows are kept away from the village area and where domestic animals are kept the attacks will automatically reduce as the leopard will not be able to prey down the cattle and other domestic animals easily. Thus our project is not only about leopards but covers community conservation also.
Aims of the Project
This is excellent Simranjit. Please feel free to keep this going with updates on this initiative. I am Tweeting it to the Followers of the NWHS Twitter account.
Interesting reading .. hope all goes well .. poor cats are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't .. we all have to eat
Very interesting Sim. Let's hope for good results.
WOW, great project for the leopards. We are the voices for them:)
Last month three leopards strayed into human dominated areas two were females with cubs__after around a month long patrolling, exact location of the leopards was known. After that they were made to move back into the forest with the help of villagers by bursting crackers and other measures for three continuous days. The need of capture was rejected by our men as capturing could be risky with two cubs. Now all the three have retreated back into forests with no injuries and no human conflict.
That is so wonderful Sim, thank God and Blessings for this work you all do.
So happy to hear the leopards are with no injuries, safe now and back in their own habitat. Thankful for all who participated in helping them. Thanks for the wonderful news Sim:)
I have a petition on Change.org to protect leopards and tigers in India
Have already signed and shared your leopards and tiger petition Ruth. TY xo
its all good stuff !