Project Title: Project Leopard
State : Punjab
Project Implementing Organization: People For Animals, Hoshiarpur
Project Duration: 24 Months
Summary of Project Leopard::
The leopard (Panthera pardus) has a ubiquitous presence in India(Daniel 1996). Historical records report its presence near human settlements but it is only since a decade or so that man – leopard conflict levels have surged in parts of some Indian states (WWF-India 1997, Vijayan & Pati2001, Athreya et al. 2004, Pati et al. 2004). The leopard is a Schedule I species and is provided the highest protection under the Indian law (Anon1972). The main threat to the leopard, is the high demand for its body parts in the illegal wildlife trade (records from the Wildlife Protection Society of India, New Delhi) and the number of leopards that are killed for their body parts far out number those of tigers (WPSI web page). Thus here, we have a species which is capable of living close to humans and increasing the potential for conflict, as well as severely threatened due to poaching for its body parts. Because of the increasing conflict levels there was a public view that the protection accorded to this seemingly abundant species should be reduced. It is important that the reasons behind the increasing conflict levels be taken into consideration so that negative publicity arising due to increasing conflict levels does not further condemn its survival.
Little known about leopard conservation status. There has long been an assumption that the great adaptability of leopards enables them to cope in human dominated Ares. But conservation scientist agrees that leopards may be more vulnerable to extinction than previously thought. There is very little research that can direct successful conservation effort for leopards.
We believe that the key to ensure the future of leopards along with other wildlife species lies in an integrated approach to conservation that looks not only at the species itself but at the need of local people, land use and the ecosystem as whole. And this approach has led us to launch ‘Project Leopard’ Project Leopard is for the survival of the wild cat with the aim to understand Human-Leopard conflict, their prey base and habitat. In short it’s main aim is leopard conservation by supporting field research, implementing education initiatives in forest ranges and bringing awareness to the conservation issue, with the help and assistance of Forest and Wildlife Department and other organizations. The major threats to the leopards that came into light are:
1. Human-Leopard conflict ( Attacks on livestock and humans) 2. Habitat Destruction
3. Lack of knowledge mythical belief about the animal
4. Poaching and hunting activities
5. Attitude of local communities towards the animals
1. Setting up a communication, awareness and education campaign among local communities, to explain the human-leopard problem and work together to try to resolve it. 2. Create a warning network system to alert any presence of leopards around cattle, to improve villager’s communication on matters concerning leopards. 3. Give local home-grown solutions to Human-leopard conflict through practical and economically viable measures. 4. Define the current occurrence zone of leopards in Hoshiarpur District on the basis of sighting records to determine its distribution, population and density. 5. Develop a funding proposal to address human-leopard conflicts in the entire range of leopard occurrence. 6. Formation of a team and network of informers to tackle the illegal wildlife activites.
1. Increased knowledge among the local community and to correct any mythical and ill-gained knowledge about leopards. 2. Financing and designing pen/kraals for...
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