DIBRUGARH: Tea bushes in upper Assam are found to be a haven for leopards as these big cats mostly take shelter in the tea gardens.
The leopards prefer garden areas because of the calm environment but during the plucking of tea leaves, the situation most of the time turns out to be horrific.
Tea workers’ encounter with leopards usually turns fatal as most of the time, people tend to kill the animal or even vice versa.
If none are killed, a severe injury to at least one is a common report across the state where such man-leopard conflicts are reported.
According to reports, man-animal conflicts are rising in Assam due to the shrinking of forest covers. The conflict between man and leopard has become a common story in the upper Assam area.
At least four people were injured after a male leopard attacked them when they tried attempted to scare the leopard at Tengakhat in upper Assam Dibrugarh on Friday.
The incident took place at Pandhua village under Tengakhat police station in Dibrugarh.
“The leopard was spotted at our village on Friday morning and the youths of the village tried to scare the leopard with sticks but the leopard attacked them. The leopard had taken refuge in the jungles of our village,” said a villager.
He added, “For the last few days, the leopard has been creating a reign of terror in our village. We informed the forest department about the leopard.”
“We have placed a cage at Pandhua village to catch the leopard. Very soon the leopard will be caged”, a forest official said.
Recently, a man was attacked by a leopard when he tried to take a close up photo of the leopard at the Chabua bypass area in upper Assam Dibrugarh.
Khanin Changmai, a veterinarian from Wildlife Trust of India, said, “Leopards don’t attack anyone first but they would if they are threatened. They always want safe passage for them but if someone blocks their passage or scares them then they attack to save themselves.”
The leopards mostly prefer the tea garden areas as they are able to find easy prey which are mostly small domestic animals as well as other animals that live in the gardens.