Last night, based on two day’s tracking and her most recent kill, I calculated that Ghatghuri, the conflict leopard, would enter our area. Sure enough, she did. Those who have been following know this leopard has been involved in a series of incidents including a recent attack on a local.
The remote camera image shows the time and Santa (in the image above, who along with Raju is being a great help) saw the cat a few minutes later. We looked for sign and you can see in the next two images when I cleared cameras and the very faint outlines of pug marks.
Based on further tracking the location of the leopard is now known, a high grass and moderately treed area which is good cover for Ghatghuri. It’s very close to the village area and the schools I mentioned in the previous post. So it’s a matter now of everyone being calm, sensible and aware… especially calm, I’ll come to that shortly. I spoke to a good friend, she had had to get up a couple of times in the night to use their outside toilet and as I’ve mentioned before this is exactly the sort of situation which can mean attacks. She has the flashlight I gave her. So from now it is about vigilance and I’ll use that word again, calm. We live with leopards, can continue to do so as long as we modify our behaviour so that the cats understand and modify their’s. We adapt, they adapt. Key is simply not giving the leopard the opportunity to attack. I will continue to monitor and understand Ghatghuri. Good people are helping and communication through village areas is improving.
In South Asia there are virtually daily incidents involving leopards. Tragically there are fatalities on both sides and the lack of calm, measured implementations is a factor. There are dedicated people on both sides of the India/Nepal border trying really hard to improve the situation.
I also see too much hype and comment online from people who have no real understanding what it is like. They have no idea of the all night vigils of response teams, the dangers that can involve. People need to settle down and support rather than make judgement. It is resources we lack, not effort and expertise. It’s all too easy for people to criticize from behind the safety of a laptop from far away. Leopard behaviour is what I devote my life to so as to try and improve the situation for both the cats and the people living with them. Perhaps those making a lot of noise about the situation would be better to put hands in pockets and support.
I thank those who do give meaningful support. The serious poaching spike of late has affected every one who protects these cats so coexistence situations like the one today, and for evermore, must be treated with the philosophy that every leopard is precious. Ghatghuri is one of those.