ROLE OF MEDIA
The north eastern city of Guwahati often comes into news because of leopards coming into towns etc. This incident occurred at 26°7’38″N 91°44’20″E in an area called Jyotikuchi which if seen in google earth is barely 2 km from a vast forested tract to the south. Another aspect which is often ignored is the density of humans in the landscape – Guwahati has about 3900 people per sq. km.
It is more common than not that these situations arise simply because the animal was seen by a human. As with Seidentstickers radio telemetry work on the leopards in Nepal, the researcher once tracked the animal to a cowshed within a village where it sat all day as people went about their daily chores only to slip out at night. The situation would have been completely different had it been seen.
Once seen, a crowd coalesces into a mob and then the situation is often impossible to control. Furthermore, as with many parts of India, even a bustling city will have little wildlife refuge areas, for example, Guwahati has little forested hillocks where leopards do occur and around it are the human dominated landscapes with their complement of livestock and domestic dogs; all potential prey for leopards. It is perhaps more common than we think, that these highly adaptable large cats foray into settlements for taking their prey.
A leopard is shot with a tranquiliser dart in the residential area of Jyotikuchi in Guwahati, the capital city of the north-eastern state of Assam. Three people were mauled by the leopard after the cat strayed into the city before it was tranquilised by forestry department officials. The full-grown male leopard was wandering through a part of the densely populated city when curious crowds startled the animal, a wildlife official said
What is glaringly wrong in the above image?
A) The complete lack of crowd management – absence of police officials to manage te crowd which almost instantaneously coalesces into a mob in India.
B) The veterinarian/zoo staff have to work in the midst of a mob which can be dangerous to their lives/the well being of the public and the wild animal as well. This could also explain why the dart has hit the neck instead of the thigh
C) In such a chaos, the tranquilising drug will not have a deep effect on the animal because of the excessive stimulus it is receiving from the hundreds of people chasing it. Once tranquilised, it is important that the animal is allowed to remain in peace with any sound and sight stimulus for about 20 minutes.
The above leopard’s fault was that he was seen in a sugarcane field. By the time we reached the little field was surrounded by thousands of people and there was little the junior level police and forest department staff could do. The animal was killed with sticks and axes