The tragic news a couple of days ago that a two year old boy died after he was snatched from his mother's lap by a leopard has once again put this fragile relationship in the spotlight. The incident, which happened near Rishikesh, has people who live in the area in an outrage. It has people in other conflict areas very wary. I've spent the last two days getting a lot of worried thoughts and they'll be going through my mind as I head off into the jungle in a few minutes to check cameras.
The whole situation is becoming more and more complex. I try to sit calmly in the middle as different viewpoints come in, viewpoints often driven by deep emotion. I've written of late how perceptions have to change to better manage the co-existence between leopards and us and there have been times when I've felt very caught in the middle, it can be quite a lonely place I'm going to admit. Livelihoods, safety of family and wildlife conservation in places where dangerous animals exist, well it's a heated cocktail.
Human/leopard conflict mitigation is very much my focus right now with leopard behaviour understanding a major part of that. A busy time is about to get even busier so I wont be able to answer messages quickly and I just ask that people who comment do so with sensitivity to the issues involved. It's very important to understand that the reality for people living in high conflict areas where poverty can be a major issue, is a reality that is far different than for most of the world.
A lot to be done...