Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Urban Wildlife: Love Thy Neighbours!

Not a single case of attack has been registered in Jabalpur that I know of? No leopard has attacked a man or killed one in Jabalpur, and yet they are shunned. These creatures have been living along side humans in not only Jabalpur but many other towns. They have always been our neighbours and have guarded and preserved our forests since eons.  

The problem has arisen from our actions. We are encroaching upon natural lands the few that are left. Large swathes of forests have been ravaged by the mafia, just have a look around the peripheries of your town. Nobody Questions?   

Long time back Jabalpur and neighboring districts of Mandla, Katni and Seoni Region were rich in forest canopy. Not any more, most of the wildlife in the reserve forests have been hunted long time back. The forests have been badly ravaged. Though some wild animals still survive but they do so in a precarious state...always at the mercy of humans in the surroundings. The axe is constantly upon the forests and threat from poachers is real. 
Leopard -
Tirath Singh

The regions mentioned above still harbor wildlife including muggers and occasional tigers. The forests are used for commercial gains and do not have a protected area status like our National Parks. 

In the subsequent race for development Jabalpur is not left alone. Highways, dams, increasing urbanization and industrial development all are silently crushing our green lungs...the valuable forests, and water sources that sustains our lives as well. Since ages I have seen the town lose ground giving it to urban development that is spreading its tentacles menacingly. 

We ....when we see roads and construction that is taking our cities to the next century we forget what price has been paid for all that. Has an alternative been looked at. Any mitigating measures taken? Was it necessary in the first place? 

No we do not look into all this...mesmerized we are by glossy hotels, gleaming malls, classic highways and sophisticated residential areas. 

Connectivity and placement at such high price could be redundant whence the paradigm changes! But the ecosystems that have been lost will never come back. Be assured!  

Cages have been set up by the forests department to capture and translocate leopards from their original home in the periphery of Jabalpur. This is ironical...the place where I live was frequented by tigers during Forsyth's time....read his book the Highlands of Central India.

Why does the forest department act in such a manner? 

Answer is simple...It is public pressure and political infringement. 

Do we stand up and protest this step? Do we pressure the news bureaus to create a positive image of other life forms - carnivores or reptiles? 

Do we take pride in our neighbours?

We are the culprits. Do we accept their presence as loving neighbors and do away with this threat perception we have been harboring since ages?

No we do not, complacent with the material wealth and ever emerging luxuries we have forgotten nature at our doorstep let alone distant ecosystems.    

So many accidents happen but the cars are never banned...latest models are introduced. Then why ban the leopard? The human fatalities at the hand of this animal is much less than that by fast cars!    

Encroaching upon forest lands and then removing the leopards surviving in degraded habitats is unjustified. But who cares they are animals after all!