The frequent presence of wild animals including leopards and bears in different hamlets of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district has created panic among common people while parents have stopped sending their wards to nearby coaching institutes, fearing for their lives.
Locals from different hamlets of Pulwama district including Zadoora, Wahibugh, Losani and Dafarpora informed CNS that wild beasts have been roaming freely in and around their villages and people especially women and children are scared to come out from their houses. “Two leopards appeared in our village at around 5 in the evening creating panic in the area. Despite informing the Wild Life officials no team turned up as a result we shut our children inside the houses,” said a local Mushtaq Ahmed from Zadoora village.
A local from Wahibugh village said that on Tuesday evening, they spotted a herd of brown bears who chased some passers-by and damaged various trees in the village.
He said that packs of bears and leopards from the adjoining forest areas raid the nearby villages in search of food every night. Besides destroying fencing, standing trees, the wild animals also pull down structures used for storing fodder. The rampaging animals have so far injured several persons in various hamlets from past fortnight.
Locals complained that the concerned authorities have not taken any concrete step to tackle the menace of growing man animal conflict resulting in loss of dozens of lives in past few years.
“Repeated appeals to the State Forest and Wildlife officials to prevent the animals from entering human habitats have evoked no response and we have been left at the mercy of wandering wild animals,” The locals said and appealed authorities to take the matter seriously.
A wild life official when contacted said that they were making all-out efforts to avoid the damage to life and property by wild animals. “We have constituted a team to trap all these wild animals,” he said.