I am still in the midst of my break. I just read this interesting paper on human leopard conflict and thought it is worth an immediate post.
Translocation as a Tool for Mitigating Conflict with Leopards in Human-Dominated Landscapes of India
VIDYA ATHREYA, MORTEN ODDEN, JOHN D. C. LINNELL K. ULLAS KARANTH
A few years back, I was pilloried by self styled environmentalists for opposing vehemently the translocation of a leopard from Wayand to Parmabikulam. For the men at the top and for the uninitiated politicians it is a quick fix method for alleviating the man animal conflict. They never bother about the ecological impacts. A release without a comprehensive study of all factors involved is fraught with lot of imponderables.
VIDYA ATHREYA, MORTEN ODDEN JOHN D. C. LINNELL and ULLAS KARANTH have come up with an excellent paper on the impacts of translocation of leopards based on their study in the Junnar region (4275 km2, 185 people/km2), Maharashtra, India. The authors’ report that prior to the large-scale translocation program, there was an average of four leopard attacks on humans each year between 1993 and 2001. Surprisingly after the translocation program was initiated, the average increased to 17 attacks.
The attacks decreased when leopards were removed for releases far away. According to the authors potential explanations for the aberrant behavior include increased aggression induced by stress of the translocation process, movement through unfamiliar human-dominated landscapes following release, and loss of fear of humans due to familiarity with humans acquired during captivity.
The study emphasize the potential ineffectiveness of translocation to reduce human–carnivore conflict The authors suggest that making improvements to the administration of compensation programme for wildlife attacks and linking this to some form of insurance scheme that can be administered by local communities might help increase tolerance for low intensity, chronic predation on livestock by leopards. This is likely to decrease the demand for management action to remove leopards.
I feel this paper is a must read for the wildlife managers. So guys go ahead and read it.
I am thankful to Dr Ullas Karanth for sending me a copy of the paper.