Recently a leopard strayed into village Mandaawar in Gurgaon District in Aravali region,and was clubbed and lynched to death by the villagers after it mauled nine people including a policeman.
It was a sort of circus show for the villagers, an instance of gross neglect of duty by the wild life preservation and forest officials of the area.
Height of truth is that the forest officials had not even the tranquilizers to calm and sedate the panicked cat which had strayed into the forbidden territory of human animals.
This is not an isolated incident. There have been repeated instance of big cats straying into human habitation in last few years. That they are around is a welcome thing, they are being clubbed, lynched is very tragic. There are even reports of poaching and hunting of these hapless animals and use of poisoned goats being used as baits for these big cats have been reported by media.
One big cat was run over by vehicle on highway in Sarahan village a few months earlier. One reason for frequent sightings of these big cats in Aravalis region is complete ban on mining of minor minerals in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts and increase of green cover in the area through efforts of forest department and some NGOs.
However,the common adage “Won’t let them live, won’t let them perish”applies here. Though the ban on mining activities and increased forest cover has been conducive for growth of these big cat,lack of proper ecological circuit in the area forces them to stray into human habitation be it lack of proper water bodies,intervening human dwellings and inert attitude of forest and wildlife officials towards these hapless animals.
Coming to bare statistics,hardly 3 to 4% of total area in Haryana state falls under forest cover , predominantly in Aravalis region in Faridabad, Gurugram, Riwari, Palwal and Narnaul districts. Technically the same is not declared “forest area” and demarcated as “Gair Mumkim pahad ” in revenue records, land not fit for cultivation and revenue generation and totally at the mercy of rapacious builders and crafty urban planners, though at the great peril to huge urban conglomerates coming around in this area.
Dire need is that the State government,in association with the Central government, in the interest of healthy ecological environment for the people residing here, and flora and fauna of this area, should adopt a stiff and pragmatic approach and declare the hilly areas in this region as ‘No Residential zone’ and take effective steps for declaring the areas as Protected Area under Chapter.4 of Wild life Protection Act 1972 .
The State government has power u.s.18 of Wild Life Protection Act 1972 to constitute an area other than an area comprised within any reserve forest or the territorial waters as a sanctuary if it considers that such area is of adequate ecological, fauna, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wild life or its environment.
The basic principle is that if the wild life around is thriving, it is a sure shot test for healthy and pollution free environment. Let there be a message to the wild life around that we care for you. Let our national capital boast of a wild life sanctuary in neighborhood.
We, the ‘Save Aravali’ team make fervent appeal to the authorities to respond to this clarion call and take timely and visionary step for guaranteeing a healthy, pollution free, ecologically balanced environment for the people around and flora and fauna of this area.
Retired Excise and Taxation Commissioner