Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cat corridor

On Sunday, a leopard was seen in a populated area of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, in Northwest India. Situations like these are bound to arise as humans encroach on the endangered cat's territory, and often result in death for both parties. Authorities urged that schools and markets be closed, but that did not stop crowds from gathering to taunt, tease, and harass the big cat. Hundreds turned out by the time the cat sought refuge inside a nearby hospital, panicking patients and staff. It was confined within an empty ward and tranquilized with a dart, but managed to escape through a wall (IMAGE ABOVE, MORE PHOTOS HERE). By that time, hundreds of onlookers had turned to thousands, creating a massive traffic jam. The leopard then snuck into a cinema and an apartment block before officials lost track of it. At the same time their territory is diminished, the animals are often prevented from getting back to it by the curious crowds. This one may be lucky. Conservationist Deepankar Ghosh of World Wildlife Fund-India explains, "Leopards are large territorial mammals. They need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface. We can't put all the leopards into cages. We can't remove all the people living near forested areas. We have to manage the situation the best way we can."

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