Millennium Post

Forest dept gives out extraction order to apprehend 'terror of Alipurduar'

Kolkata: The state Forest department has ordered for 'extraction of a leopard from the landscape' that has been causing deaths in the tea gardens of Alipurduar for over a month. The order comes in the wake of the state Forest department's efforts to capture the big cat proving futile.

"We have found out that one of the leopards in the tea gardens of Alipurduar has become 'very dangerous' and is posing a serious threat to human life in the area. The animal's attacks had proved fatal for three children and resulted in serious injuries to some others. We have identified that it is a single leopard that has been responsible for the attack. So we have decided to go to extreme lengths and extract this leopard from the landscape," said Ravi Kant Sinha, Chief Wildlife Warden of Bengal.

This is the first time in the state that such an order has been given to rein in a leopard. The order implies that the Forest department officials have the licence to shoot and kill the animal, if they feel that it cannot be captured by any other method. Similar orders were given in the year 2016 when an elephant was shot dead after it went rogue in Burdwan district.

It may be mentioned that after a series of leopard attacks in December and January that resulted in the death of three children, the Forest department has been able to capture five leopards in and around the tea garden areas of Ramjhora, Dhumchipara and Gargonda that lie in the Madarihat Block.

The area, as per the satellite map created by the state Forest department, is spread across a span of 65.88 square kilometres. The three fatal cases took place at Dhumchipara tea garden on December 12, Ramjhora tea garden on December 23 and on January 16 at Gargonda tea estate, when a girl child was snatched from the lap of her mother, with her body being found later.

The villagers in the area have been vocal against such attacks and two animals were allegedly killed by poisoning in December.

Sources said that the Forest department is looking for expert shooters who can be given the responsibility to kill the animal, if needed. However, experts stated that it is extremely difficult to shoot a tiger or a leopard to death in its natural habitat.

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