Uptick in wild animal attacks in Kupwara scares residents

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People demand demarcation of wildlife designated forested area for their safety

Tasaduq Hussain

 With no demarcation of wildlife-designated forested area, safety concerns continue to grow among residents as cases of human-animal conflict sees a uptick in north Kashmir’s Kupwara.  

Cases of deaths and injuries in attacks by wild animals such as leopards and bears have been reported from Hyhama, Trehgam, Mawer, Langate, and a few other areas of the district.

The residents told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the authorities need to act swiftly and initiate concrete steps to ensure their safety.

“The constant movement of bears and leopards has caused panic among the inhabitants who are living in fear of potential encounters with these wild animals. The safety of the children and residents is at significant risk,” they said.

Referring to the death of a minor boy in the Rajwar area on Monday (Yesterday) they said that incidents like this have caused an extreme scare among the residents. 

“With protected areas exclusively designated for wildlife animals, all those recused once won’t come back to civilian areas. It will also curtail the movement of other wild animals thus bringing much-needed peace among the population,” said the residents.

Wildlife Warden North Kashmir Mohammad Maqbool told KNO that there is sometimes fluctuation in the population of animals. “The number keeps going up and coming down. There is a surge in the number of wild animals and many factors are involved in it. Human-animal conflict is more prevalent in places where houses are close to forests or have maize crops. Humans are also responsible for it given they go to forests,” he said.

The warden said that the department is taking every measure to ensure the safety of everyone. “We make sure people are aware of Do’s and don’ts. People also need to take precautionary measures to ensure their safety.   Family members need to take care of their children during evening and morning hours in particular,” he said. 

The warden also said that their department is equipped with all the latest equipment used during rescue operations.

Referring to regular sightings and attacks, the wildlife warden said that it is prevalent everywhere across the country from south to north.

About the concerns of the public, he said that the Kupwara district doesn’t have any particular protected area designated for wildlife. “We only have territorial forest here, not anything designated for the protected area.”

“We don’t have sufficient staff available and given that no proposal has been prepared to pitch for designated protected wildfire area, the warden said

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