Coexistence Strategy – The Quest for Peace with the Leopard

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Once when Ridem and I were talking about leopards she rose to her full height (not very high), looked me in the eye (I was sitting on the ground) and said with the full ferocity a tiny Tharu girl can muster, “I am Ridem Tharu Ghatghuri!”
 
I was impressed. Ghatghuri is a Tharu word for leopard.
Now when Ridem’s mum, Sita, and I talk about Ridem we refer to her as RTG.In yesterday’s post I referred to Nirajan‘s (Babu) role keeping in keeping things safe for communities and leopards. With the motorbike, camera equipment and training we’ve supplied he can effectively monitor situations… and it’s working. Effectively Babu is now a leopard monitor. I’m back in high country areas now and terrain is far more difficult to move round on than on the Terai where Babu and RTG live. But we’re developing strategies to cope with that and as time goes by I’ll be announcing more leopard monitors.  I’m in constant contact with Babu and others getting updates.
 
RTG doesn’t use the outside toilet at night. I’ve found leopard pug marks within 50 metres of their house. Sita and her husband built a small concrete house, this means they are much safer from wandering wild elephants. All this is basic safety although sadly there are many people without the economic capacity to improve their infrastructure. This is where the monitoring role of people like Babu becomes crucial, it adds the awareness and education elements and I’ve written before about the early warning SMS systems we’ve implemented particularly re elephants but applicable for leopards.
 
And that education element? This is where RTG is going to become a poster girl for the strategy. The more she understands conflict mitigation strategy, the more it becomes part of her being, the more likely we can avert tragedy.
 
It’s not rocket science but it does take time, effort and resources. All totally worth it to save lives, on both sides, and foster peaceful coexistence.
 
A big thanks Dan for the beautiful image of my little buddy. And RTG, I miss you lots, hope to see you soon…