Two leopards died near Bandipur tiger reserve on Tuesday of poisoning, allegedly poisoned by the villagers as a pre-emptive measure.
The Times of India reports that the leopards were found on Tuesday morning at Hanchipura bordering Omkar range attached to the reserve. While a male black leopard was found dead, a female leopard died while she was being taken to Mysuru zoo.
The carcass of a poisoned dog was also found in the area, raising doubts that the leopards must have died after consuming the dog meat. Post-mortem confirmed that they died of poisoning.
The villagers are reported to have accused the forest officials of neglecting their complaints about wild animals destroying their crops and said that they ignored their requests to set up a cage to nab the animals.
The New Indian Express reports that the villagers allegedly sprayed pesticide on the dog and lured the leopards to eat it. MN Naveen Kumar, Bandipur wildlife warden claimed that “it was a pre-emptive murder”, as the leopard hadn’t caused any damage in the village.
Hullahalli police have registered a case.
Calling this “a dangerous act”, an activist told TOI that wildlife is the first victim in a man-animal conflict and that it was easy to kill animals with the use of pesticide.
"The poisoning of the leopards is a warning for the forest department. In fact, we have seen a rise in these incidents. Some villagers are resorting to extreme measures and expressing their anguish against the forest department for not providing timely compensation (over animal attacks),” a wildlife expert was quoted as saying by Bangalore Mirror.