DWC hunt to relocate Kudumbigala leopards | Daily News

DWC hunt to relocate Kudumbigala leopards

Wildlife Conservation Department Officials have begun an operation to locate and capture the leopard believed to have attacked a farmer on Thursday (1) and killed another on December 30 in Kudumbigala, Ampara.

DWC sources said the leopard will have to be located, tranquilised and moved to a different area of the reserve to safeguard the leopard and the area public.

On December 30, a farmer was killed by a leopard inside the Kudumbigala Sanctuary in a paddy field situated in Helawa area. Following this, another man was attacked on Thursday and was severely injured. He is currently receiving treatment at the Ampara Hospital. The incident caused some unrest in the area with the public demanding that the DWC take action to prevent further attacks and protect area residents. Police and the STF had to be deployed to maintain order.

Environmentalists and experts have urged the DWC and officials involved in the operation to ensure the leopard is not harmed in the process. According to the DWC, leopards are known to roam in the area and the Kudumbigala sanctuary where the attacks took place is home to several leopards.

According to experts, there were 21 incidents reported in 2020 with regard to the Sri Lankan Leopard. These 21 incidents consist of 13 leopard deaths including the death of a rare black panther, six rescues and two human attacks where one individual was killed and the other was severely injured. Environmental activist Sethil Muhandiram said the rate at which leopards are being killed is higher than the attacks on humans suggesting that there is no conflict but a misunderstanding. “There should be a significant segregation of human-wildlife habitats to maintain an amicable coexistence of both parties,” he said.