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World Enviornment Day: Saving leopards in the Western Ghats

Jun 05, 2013 09:56 AM IST India India

Junnar: Along the western coast of India, lies an ancient mountain range, Planet Earth's richest diversity of life is found here. In this magical land, new species are still being discovered. This vast expanse of green that stretches across 60,000 square kilometres, is a global hotspot - a world heritage site. This week we start our journey of the Western Ghats in Maharashtra.

Across Maharashtra incidents of leopards being chased, beaten and maimed have become common. At the Manikdoh Rescue Centre at Junnar, run by Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest Department, leopards too badly injured, in conflict with humans to return to the wild are brought here.

"The leopards come here with severe injuries to their eyes or feet or they even have maggoted wounds. We first de-stress them and then treat them," said Dr Ajay, who works here.

Reportedly since the faulty translocation policy was stopped, the conflict with leopards has fallen. In Junnar district, over 40 leopards live close to villages, but there have been no attacks. And that may be the solution - educating ourselves that leopards are in fact shy animals and will attack only if provoked.