So many of the world’s most incredible animals are disappearing from the face of the earth. Rhinos and elephants are vanishing from the planes of Africa because of illegal poachers and the orangutans’ habitat in Indonesia has been decimated by the palm oil industry. Leopards can also count themselves amongst these iconic endangered species.
Leopards are one of the most strikingly beautiful creatures left on the planet. Their sinewy bodies float with an otherworldly grace as they stalk through forests and their beautifully patterned fur undulates hypnotically as they drape themselves over a well-shaded tree branch for a nap. But there is nothing beautiful or graceful about a leopard trapped in a well.
Due to rapid urbanization, the leopards’ habitat in India is disappearing and because of this they are forced to live in close proximity with humans . . . and their wells. However, Wildlife SOS’s team at the Manekdo Rescue Center is working to save these big cats from man-made obstacles and much more. The team has been facilitating human/animal conflict mitigation conferences which include park rangers and local villagers. At these conferences, conservationists and local farmers and businessmen come together to find solutions that will further the interests of wildlife and people who inhabit the region. Wildlife SOS states that these meetings have been, “quite fruitful in terms of developing a deeper understanding and overcoming this highly sensitized problem.” But there is still more work to be done.
Thanks to the dedication of Wildlife SOS, wild leopards now have a fighting chance at survival.
The human population in the region will continue to grow and as it does, farmers and ranchers will continue to come into conflict with leopards and other wildlife that inhabit the surrounding jungles. This means that more leopards will be trapped in wells, cubs will be separated from their mothers, and farmers will continue to record losses due to leopards feeding on their livestock. These problems are not going away which is why it is so important that the Manekdo Rescue Center continues pursuing this unique blend of education and conservation. And at the next conflict resolution forum, the leopards have announced they will be sending a delegate to participate in the dialogue . . . O.K. maybe not. But until the leopards can talk this is the best solution.
Image source: Wildlife SOS/Facebook