Nuapada, Nov 1: A day after a leopard tragically claimed the life of an 8-year-old boy in Kantipani Godhaspada, under Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district, the forest department has deployed a specialized team to closely monitor the elusive big cat's activities within the sanctuary and its surrounding areas.
Sources said that the same leopard has also been responsible for the killing of a cow belonging to Arjun Fharua, a resident of the village. The villagers are living in a state of anxiety, reluctant to venture out to their farmlands and keeping a vigilant eye on their children within the village.
Addressing the press, Sunabeda District Forest Officer (DFO) Mahadeo Budak expressed his deep sorrow over the child's tragic demise and extended his sympathies to the grieving family.
DFO Budak shared, "We have received information about the presence of a leopard roaming in the area. To monitor its movements, we have deployed trap cameras positioned throughout the forest division as part of the tiger census efforts."
He also assured that the department is committed to raising awareness among the local people about the potential risks associated with encounters with the big cat. In response to the local residents' demands, Budak confirmed that the department would endeavor to fulfill their requests, including the installation of fencing and lighting in the area.
"The ex-gratia amount for a 'human kill' is Rs 6 lakh. Initially, we have provided Rs 50,000 to the bereaved family to assist with post-death rituals. The remaining ex-gratia amount will be disbursed within the next two or three days, following the completion of official procedures," the DFO explained.
Furthermore, Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Pradip Kumar Amat, who presided over a conference of District Forest Officers (DFOs) in Bhubaneswar, issued directives for officials to take proactive measures to mitigate human-animal conflicts that have been prevalent in various forested regions. The minister also called upon the DFOs to implement safety measures for individuals residing in close proximity to forested areas.