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Two leopard cubs found in Hunsur Rabgyaling Tibetan settlement

August 19, 2015

DHARAMSHALA: Two leopard cubs have been found by Tibetan settlers in Rabgyaling (Hunsur) Tibetan settlement by Tibetans while cleaning the boundary of the Gyumed monastery last week.

Tsering Namgyal, a resident of N village, was trimming bushes of the monastery’s boundary when he discovered two infant leopards nestled in the shrubs. “I saw something colorful in the undergrowth which I first thought were snakes but on close view, it turned out to be leopard cubs, two of them,” Tsering told Phayul. Picture of the cubs with local Tibetans have been found circulating on social networking sites.

The cubs, believed to be only a few weeks old, were handed over to local forest department authorities for expert help and rehabilitation. The forest officers are in search of their mother who, some fear, might have lost its way or even killed by poachers or speeding vehicles at night while wandering onto the road. Two leopards were found dead on Hunsur Mysore road last month as death toll of human - animal conflict in the state of Karnataka stands at 30 in just eight months. While 23 were killed in elephant attacks, the rest succumbed to attacks by tigers, leopards, wild boars and bears. In the same period, around 300 head of cattle were killed by wild animals in the state, home to the four of the largest Tibetan settlements in India.

A Tibetan man talking to forest officials as he heads to handover the cubs. Photo/facebook
A Tibetan man talking to forest officials as he heads to handover the cubs. Photo/facebook
The Rabgyaling Tibetan settlement is one of the agricultural settlements punctuated across India under the Home department of the Central Tibetan Administration. The settlement is located near Hunsur Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of 13 forest circles in the state of Karnataka. Mysuru district is an ideal habitat for leopards as the region is flanked by national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, in addition to a vast hinterland of shrub vegetation, scrub forests and agricultural fields.

Incidences involving tussles between man and animals in the settlements are a frequent occurrence with the crops during harvest seasons at the mercy of animals such as monkeys and wild elephants, notorious among residents. Measures have been taken by the Tibetan farm owners to create artificial barriers such as dugouts around the farm and solar powered fences earlier but to little or no avail with the jumbos often encroaching to eat crops and destroy the farm at the expense of the Tibetan farmers.

“The elephants are really a nuisance to the farmers, even though we have dug boundaries around the farm, they are relentless and climb those slope to eat crops during the harvest season and fruits that grow within the homestead” added Tsering.

Two months ago in the same settlement, an elderly Tibetan man going for his early morning walk was suddenly attacked by a wild elephant with the man sustaining broken ribs and injuries grave enough for hospitalization.

Tibetan people living in the settlement face frequent episodes of wildlife confrontation with their hard earned livelihood at stake, and now their lives too.

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