Residents of a local unit in Tanahun relieved after a third leopard was ensnaredSix children have been mauled to death while seven others have been injured by killer cats in the past year and a half.
The local people in Bhanu Municipality of Tanahun district are relieved, to some extent, after a third leopard fell into a snare set up by forest officials in a local forest.
A female leopard fell into the wooden trap installed at Bhimsenthumki Community Forest on Monday night. Forest officials and locals believe that the leopard could be the one behind the deaths of six children at wards No 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the municipality.
“The leopard might have fallen into the trap on Monday night. The National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) has been deployed in the area to control leopards,” said Kedar Baral, chief of Division Forest Office in Tanahun. According to him, the trapped leopard was safely released into Chitwan National Park after installing a radio collar. The technical team also examined its health, he added.
Over the past year and a half, six children have been mauled to death and seven others have sustained injuries in leopard attacks in the local units. The locals of Bhanu are living with the fear of leopard attacks, which have only increased with time.
“The local people are very happy with the news that a third leopard fell in the trap,” said Maiya Dhakal of Bhanu. She, however, feared that there could be other killer cats in the forests as well. The first leopard attack in the municipality was reported on February 13, 2018.
Two other leopards, both male, fell into the snares on October 3 and October 28. Three others were found dead in the area.
As per the data of the Division Forest Office, there are 96 community forests (which cover 5,777 hectares of land) in Bhanu Municipality but the office does not have data on the exact number of leopards that roam the forests.
The wooden snare, made traditionally, was installed as children in the area were continually being mauled. The Division Forest Office had adopted various measures to curb leopard attacks and ensure safety to its residents, but to no avail. The office started using the traditional method after many trial-and-error attempts to trap leopards with modern measures failed.
“Nine traditional snares made of wood have been installed in the community forests, as they seem effective to trap the killer cats,” said Arjun Khadka, the ward chairman of Bhanu-2.
To contain the animals, the municipality has deployed a special security squad with authority even to shoot the beasts after all strategies adopted by the NTNC failed to yield any result. Mayor Udaya Prasad Gauli said the NTNC team lead by Naresh Subedi tried all the technologies used in various countries of Asia to trap the big cats.
[Clarification: Out of the two male leopards captured on October 3 and October 28, one has been handed over to Chitwan National Park while the other is with Shankar Nagar Ban Bihar and Research Centre, said Kedar Baral, Chief of Division Forest Office in Tanahun. The female leopard that was ensnared on November 11 has also been handed over to Chitwan National Park, said Baral.]