Leopard captured in Odisha made to ‘entertain’ localsJuly 9th, 2012 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, July 9 (IANS) Odisha officials have drawn flak after a captured male leopard was brought to the residence of a district collector to “entertain” people in the area.
The leopard had entered a shop in the district headquarters town of Sonepur, about 280 km from here July 4, from nearby forests.
The animal was rescued by forest and wildlife officials a day later and shifted to a forest department nursery in the same town.
On July 6, the forest department brought the caged animal to the residence of the district collector, where a ‘leopard show’ was organised for the public.
Barricades were erected and the public lined up to see and shoot the caged animal in a queue with cameras and mobile phones. Flashes popped hundreds of times as the poor animal was photographed again and again by thousands of viewers. This went on for nearly 4 hours.
Even though the leopard rescue guidelines and Wildlife (Protection) Act clearly says such animals should be released into the wild, the leopard was illegally moved to Nandan Kanan Zoo, Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Odisha told IANS.
The guidelines clearly prohibit the display of captured leopards as such acts will alter their behaviour with respect to humans which can be exhibited after their release into the wild, he said.
Similarly, it also prohibits human contact with the captured leopard to enable a smooth release into the wild in the immediate vicinity of its capture site, said Mohanty.
The animal being stressed, banged itself against the cage rods and injured itself on its nose though it was still in a good condition, he added.
Mohanty said he has written a letter to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) of the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment Monday seeking actions against the wildlife and forest officials and the district collector for the violation.
“The animal could have been released immediately within 10 km of the capture site which was not done; rather it was forced to travel for more than 300 km to Nandan Kanan Zoo,” a retired wildlife official said.
State Forest Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said people were curious to see the animal and there was nothing wrong if the administration allowed them to see the leopard. “It was a minor incident,” he added.
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Tags: barricades, conservation authority, district headquarters, forest department, forest officials, human contact, leopards, male leopard, ministry of forests, nearby forests, ntca, poor animal, queue, smooth release, tiger conservation, union ministry, vicinity, wildlife officials, wildlife protection act, wildlife society