With rapid encroachment into forested areas surrounding villages and fields, incidents of man-animal conflict in Maharashtra have seen a dramatic increase in the last decade. In particular, problems related to leopards that have entered fields and human habitation have risen, with animals wandering out of the shrinking forests as they find their territory and prey base depleting. To combat the problems arising as a result of this, specifically to house and care for leopards injured during man-animal conflicts, a leopard holding facility was built in Manekdoh, Maharashtra, in 2002. The centre was expanded in 2007 when the government partnered with Wildlife SOS to improve upon the existing facility.
Besides increasing space and improving the quality of the centre, now called the Manekdoh Leopard Research Centre or MLRC, Wildlife SOS aims to mitigate the overall problem of human-animal conflict by spreading awareness among locals regarding the wildlife with which they share their environment and holding workshops for the local Forest Department to train them to safely and efficiently deal with the issue.
This year, one such workshop was organized by the Maharashtra branch of Wildlife SOS for the staff at the Kolhapur Forest Department. The senior veterinary officer at MLRC, Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, spoke to the sixty participants about the management of wildlife and leopard encounters. The talk, accompanied by a practical demonstration of safe and effective professional field skills, was carried out in the presence of the Range Forest Officer, Mr. Tamane, and the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr. N. Naikade, both of the Kolhapur Forest Department.
The program was informative and extremely well-received and is sure to act as a vital step in the mitigation of conflict situations between the locals and leopards in the area.
If you want to support Wildlife SOS’ man-animal conflict mitigation and awareness efforts by donating to our cause, simply click HERE. You can also sponsor the care and rehabilitation of one of the leopards at the Manekdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, by following this LINK.