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Bhadrawati residents to mitigate man-leopard (Dec)

 
The Pioneer, New Delhi, 13th December, 2013
 
In a special effort to deal with leopard man conflict, within the Bhadravati ordinance factory in Maharashtra, nearly 10,000 employees living within its premises will learn to co-exist with leopards, from their present state of perpetual conflict with them.
 
Covering an area of 30 sq kms, the factory shares a porous border with Tadoba Reserve. Each hub of 20-25 flats in the premises is surrounded by dense shrubs, bushes and tree covers, where leopards easily find shelter after sneaking in from the nearby forest. 
 
After nearly five years of repeated incidents of such conflicts, a project called "Mitigating man-leopard conflict at ordnance factory" has been launched jointly by the forest department, ordinance factory management and Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT), NGO working on big cat conservation.
 
The project is basically aimed at devising an approach where people living within the premises of the factory surrounded by dense forests will be taught how to coexist safely with leopards. In the process, TRACT, will conduct scientific study of the area, including various researches and collection of data to find a long term solution to this problem, said VK Sinha, APCCF, Eco tourism and wildlife administration.
 
"We want to ensure that leopards do not come in conflict with residents. The study has been ordered to survey the presence of animals and then take corrective steps accordingly," said Biswajit Pradhan, joint general manager of ordnance factory.
 
The problem erupted in the premises of the factory around 2009. According to sources from the State forest department, number of leopards have been caught from time to time using cages and traps and released back in the wild since the last few years. But this was only a temporary solution as the leopards kept returning back to the campus.
 
"Dumping of garbage by residents and waste by meat shops over the years flock domestic pigs and dogs, which are easy preys for leopards. Further, overflowing water from the filtration plant, haphazard tree cover and dense bushes touching the main thoroughfares have made the premises an ideal habitat for these big cats, said Poonam Dhanwatey Secretary, TRACT.
 
There have been three recent encounters with leopards recently, within the campus. This includes one where a leopard reached a terrace using the branches of a tree to kill a dog. Another leopard had entered a hospital corridor to kill a dog. In the third case, one person was attacked which compelled the ordnance factory management to act.