Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"Living with Leopards" - It's not just about the leopard, its about the elephant, tiger, wildlife... and our children...

A couple of months ago Manju (Anjel) said to me "we must protect our babies, only then can they protect the wildlife"... I knew then Manju was ideal for the program, by "babies" she was talking about the children in her community, they are kids she cares about very much. I remember a conversation with the leopard doctor Asis, he said we have to get the kids involved as well as saying "we have to have less kids!"
None of this is rocket science but they are only words unless there is action. Yes, I'm pleased with the progress we are making but there is so much to do, the very sad incident (part of a spate of ongoing conflict) I mentioned in yesterday's post (on Facebook, another child killed by leopard) points to that, There are some very good people getting involved and I am very careful these days to make sure they are ones who walk the walk rather than just talk the talk.
Although there is a strong technical aspect related to the Leopard Task Force side, based around panthera pardus itself, the "Living with Leopards" program is more about human and wildlife coexistence in general, so a whole range of species comes into play including of course elephant, an animal with which coexistence is very challenging. The growing tiger population means there has to be foresight as the big striped cat spreads its territory. Across the border in India, 17 people have been killed by tiger this year just in the Pilibhit area alone. The leopard is however the ideal focal point because of its vast range, its adaptability outside protected areas, and most importantly, the ongoing conflict.
There are many other dynamics I could write about at the moment but I have a lot to do, I thank those who do follow this and I especially thank those who have given tangible support in recent weeks, it all counts. It's impossible to really understand this level of human wildlife coexistence unless you live it so I will do my best, time permitting, to continue to bring the raw realities. Those who know me know I am not into "fluffy conservation" ... there is far too much of that BS, the truth may be confronting but to understand and support is the only way things can progress. It can never be perfect but it can be better...