Its hard to accept that we belong to a species â€œhumansâ€ that is the most destructive of all species. As evidence of this we have the sad and brutal massacre of an innocent Leopard in Faridabad, just outside Delhiâ€“the National Capital that made the mistake of sitting on a tree !
This brutal and mindless attack and the high levels of intolerance for fellow creatures that share our habitat has shocked the Police, the Forest Dept, the District Administration, Wildlife conservationists and has raised a huge question mark on the â€œtoleranceâ€ and â€œhumanityâ€ of humans.
Last week, Wildlife SOS office received a frantic call from Kheri Gujran (a village in Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi â€“ the National Capital of India). A leopard had been spotted on a tree, and Wildlife SOS was requested to capture and relocate the animal. Soon, more calls and requests began pouring in from the Delhi Wildlife Department and also from the District Magistrate of Faridabad to translocate the predator.
Shortly after receiving the SOS call, a team left from the Wildlife SOS rescue Center in Gurgaon, accompanied by officers from the Haryana Forest Department. A second team was dispatched from the Wildlife SOS Delhi Hotline Unit cum Headquarters.
Between them, the two teams carried tranquilizing equipment, trapping equipment, nets and capture poles. The Faridabad District Magistrate provided a police pilot to guide the team to the exact spot where the animal was trapped on a tree.
Upon reaching Kheri Gujran, the WSOS team realized the situation was far from ideal. Despite the presence of two Wildlife SOS teams, the State Forest Department Officers, the Police and the District Administration – a large and rather unruly crowd of onlookers had gathered about 300 metres away from the banyan tree on which the leopard sat.
The WSOS rescue teamâ€™s plan was to dart the animal from atop the nearest building with a tranquilizer dart. Abhishek Narayan, Helpline Coordinator – Wildlife SOS said â€œWe wanted to ensure the leopard had a clear exit route away from the crowd to ensure no one was injured. 15 – 20 policemen worked with us in trying to hold back the crowd, but a lack of armed policemen reduced their efficacy. The helpless and now bewildered and trapped animal seemed to be fair game for entertaining the unruly mob.â€
What happened after that was worse than a devilish nightmare! And suddenly, an inebriated man broke through the barrier and ran to the tree and began hurling stones at the bewildered Leopard. Excited by his inebriated machismo, on cue, the crowd began to throw sticks at the animal. The terrified creature climbed down the tree, looking for a way to escape. But high on their collective violence, the group blocked his path. When he jumped into the nearest compound to look for an alternate exit, they surrounded him once again, closing in rapidly with vicious speed. Finally, a man drew too close, causing the animal to snap at him in self defense. The sight of blood drove the crowd into a rabid frenzy. The situation rapidly spiralled out of control from bad to worse with the wicked mob exacting vengeance on the poor innocent animal attacking it with stones, sticks and rods and beat him to death.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co founder Wildlife SOS said â€œWhen the animal had lost all signs of consciousness, the Wildlife SOS officers begged the crowd to leave it alone. The raging mob snatched the tranquilizing equipment and smashed it to the ground. The Wildlife SOS teams were threatened with violence if we tried to save the Leopard. It was too late by now anyway – the magnificent animal lay lifeless on the ground, its once-muscular sinews beaten to a pulp. It was one of the saddest sights our teams have ever witnessed. A beautiful and innocent animal fell to human barbarism once again and we were physically stopped from helping it! Clearly this is a reflection of the high levels of intolerance of the human species. Sympathy towards fellow human beings is an unreal expectation if we cannot be sympathetic to a helpless animal.â€
Harshad Solanki, Wildlife SOS Rescue Team member said â€œThe village sarpanch or headman, from whom we expected cooperation, was to our shock delighted at how effectively his village mob had dealt swiftly with the leopard and labeled it a courageous act! After bludgeoning the helpless animal to death, the rowdy mob then dragged the poor lifeless body of the leopard all around the village for half an hour to gloat over their conquest. At that moment we were ashamed of the species we belonged to.â€
The District Magistrate of Faridabad, an officer of the prestigious Indian Administrative Service was heard saying that he was saddened on seeing the behavior of the people in his district.
The carcass was reluctantly handed to the Haryana Forest Department after the whole drama was played out. The German word, or more aptly, Hitlerâ€™s word for the scene that day is â€˜blutkittâ€™ â€” we are bound together by the atrocity of what we have seen until we are silent. Break that silence. Punish the guilty.
Several NGOâ€™s and activists have appealed to the Govt to punish the guilty. We hope there is justice out there. We are sadly left with a dead leopard and damaged tranquilizing equipment on our hands â€“ the villagers for sure have blood on their hands! â€“ the blood of an innocent leopard!
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