Haryana to penalise people harming leopards

February 25th, 2011 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 25 (IANS) The Haryana government Friday warned of punishment to those killing or injuring leopards in the state.This comes following recent incidents of people in rural areas attacking and killing leopards who had ventured into villages and other habitations.

Haryana forests minister Ajay Singh Yadav appealed to the people not to kill or injure any leopard. He said the leopard is a protected animal of Category-I under the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

“The violator of this Act could be sentenced up to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.25,000,” Yadav said.

He urged the people not to get nervous or make a noise whenever a leopard slipped into an inhabited area.

“People should neither intimidate nor tease or see directly into the eyes of the leopard. Rather they should make way for the big cat,” the minister said.

“If these precautions are taken, the leopard will not harm the people and would automatically go back into the forest,” he added.

A leopard, which had ventured into a village in Haryana’s Faridabad district two months back was killed by angry residents after the animal attacked a woman.

Yadav appealed to people that whenever a leopard is seen in a populated area or in the fields, the nearest wildlife office should be informed immediately.

“It is a matter of pride for us to have this beautiful creature in the state. It has been our age-old tradition to let wild animals roam freely,” he added.

“Leopards come out of forests whenever they feel shortage of natural habitat or food in the forests. That is the reason why leopards enter into the populated areas in Aravali and Shivalik hills,” Yadav said.

“Actually, the population of leopards in Haryana has increased - thanks to the better management of forests, conservation of water and soil and better protection provided by the forest department,” he added.

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