Shimla April, 16; Concerned over the declining population of leopards, NGO Nature Watch India (NWI) has made a plea for launching ‘Project Leopard’ on the sidelines of ‘Project Tiger’ to protect leopard and save them from extinction.
“The wild life department is capturing and killing leopard without ascertaining whether the leopard is a man-eater or not,” convener of NWI Rajeshwar Singh Negi said and challenged the claims of the department regarding increase in population of leopards.
In a 10-page memorandum sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NWI said widespread lynching, poaching, capturing and trade of leopard skin and body parts to China and other South Asian countries had driven leopards on the verge of extinction. It was high time that ‘Project Leopard’ was launched to make the state wildlife department follow the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the standard operating procedures and provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act.
Claiming that as per the customs department records, nearly 200 leopard killings were detected every year, Negi said the actual number of unregulated killing of leopards was 10 times more, which implied that leopards would become extinct in the next 15 years.He said as per the national census of leopards conducted in 2015, their population was 7,000 in and around tiger reserves and about 5,000 across the country. He said a large number of leopards were killed or captured in Himachal by the wild life department and displaced from their natural habitat.
Negi said the NWI would also meet Union Minister Menaka Gandhi in this regard and also raise the issue of constitution of a task force by the Himachal government for culling of monkeys.
News Source Tribune India