I’ve read an article of Conservational practice in Nepal, I don’t remember the exact title but it expressed Nepal as being a frontier in Conservation Management. To some extent it was logical, but with the recent event of Leopard conflict in Kapan, it brought to my mind that every animal apart from Tigers, Rhino’s or Snow Leopards are neglected. I bumped into the video shot by the locals of Kapan, and there was this guy, who, as I’ve read in the news must be from the Ministry of Forest. He has the Leopard completely in control, he’s hurt and there’s blood all over the floor, but the leopard was under control and he was holding it. And there’s another guy holding a dart gun right next to him! But still, instead of Tranquilizing the leopard when he is under control the first thing they do is try to kill it. Why is it so easy to Kill a leopard? Because it doesn’t fall under as exotic species as Tigers and Rhinos? Or because it doesn’t have any role in Ecosytem? The food chain? I would have understood if they’d said that it was out of control and attacking humans and all, but then it wasn’t. The leopard must have made into the city during the night time, if it really wanted to kill humans; I think it would have already killed few people.
And this happens almost every year! If this was one time incident I would have understood. But almost every year a Leopard is killed inside the valley! We do know that international agencies pump in huge amount of fund for conservational work. Does conservational work involve only lecturing people in five star hotels or branding it? Why can’t that sum of money be used to train student from the same field, to use the dart guns, and circulate their phone numbers among different media’s or even involve the police department? Provide them with necessary training; give them an authority to dart the animal! I read somewhere that the incident with the leopard happened somewhere around 6 into morning and the officials were there around 10:30. Why is there a huge negligence when it comes to Leopards? I don’t think there’s an actual data on the population of Leopards in Kathmandu valley. Just because they are frequent visitors in the valley doesn’t mean they are common! They might be very few, and if we really kill every leopard that comes into the city, and the reason for killing them is, if we don’t they might come again then why not just wipe their population out for good? That way there won’t be any conflict! Leopards are equally important as tigers are! And the most disturbing thing is they actually parade the dead Leopard like they won’t the world cup! You can see photos of people carrying around the Leopard like a prize. They have as equal right in this Earth as every human. And just because we are somewhat superior to them doesn’t mean we have right to kill them at will.
Is that what intelligence and superiority mean? We marched into their homes, destroyed their habitat and then we blame them for coming in to our “homes?” it’s us who walked into their homes! We; who killed their habitat, the reason they are driven into the city is us! And we feel so superior about killing a Leopard from a long range with a gun, and then prove our worthiness by parading a dead animal? Is that what conservation is? Just because the Leopard doesn’t bring in hundreds and thousands of Tourist’s to our country every mean that it’s not important to the ecosystem? If this was the first case, may be I’d fine because things might have gone out of control if it wasn’t “Shot dead” but this happens every time a Leopard comes into the city. Where’s the conservation then? I don’t think conservation means just talking about the efforts to save the animals when Leopards are getting killed every year! And if the government is not fine about giving the authority of darting to the local people or students why can’t they train the Police officer for those particular situations? Why can’t they train them at the academy and separate a batch for wildlife conservation and wildlife trade related division? Or why can’t the ministry make such effort to join hands with the police department to train them. Should be not think about this? Or should we just kill every Leopard that comes into the city? I don’t really know what’s lacking here, a proper management or trained officials. I do understand the local citizen’s fear of having a Leopard in their house, isn’t there any way to work this out?
We do have enough forest, mostly trees and still people wonder why do the Leopards come into the city? Well, first thing first they don’t eat trees, and the next thing is, whatever the feed on don’t feed on trees. May be, instead of just planting trees continuously, we must look in to a better alternative and plant those plants which a deer can feed on and then maintain a good habitat for Deer’s, only then will the Leopard stop coming into the city. We’ve all got to eat don’t we? And hunger is what drives the Leopard’s into the city, so should we kill them in our homes or make a sustainable place inside their home to feed them?
Photo source (Google images)