According to informed wildlife sources, as many as five leopard cats have died in the past year and most of the deaths were due to the unregulated traffic movement leading to road kills. “Leopard cats are highly endangered animals when compared to tigers and the last death case was reported on Friday at Kothagiri forest division, but there are no scientific investigations done to stop their deaths,” fumed a forest department insider.
“Road kills of wild animals are becoming common in Nilgiris and twice I have sighted leopard cats only as carcass. Sighting these nocturnal animals are rare and hardly you can see their live videos and photos,” said wildlife activist K Mohanraj blaming the local foresters for not protecting the small mammals. “Speed regulation of vehicles is must and the number of warning signboards should be increased. At this rate of road kills, the population of leopard cats will locally be wiped out from Nilgiris,” he said.
“Further, the autopsy reports of the wild animals that die under unnatural conditions are not revealed and shared in public. Only the death of animals is openly admitted it could lead to positive conservation,” Mohanraj added. Leopard cats are extremely shy and rare animal and their populations are usually confined to thick forests in Nilgiris.
Species like Leopard cats, Mouse deer and Niligir Martin are extremely vulnerable for habitat degradation and there is no proper census data on these animals. The forests through effective wildlife corridor surveillance can minimise road kills of these fewer known animals, opined scientist A Kumaraguru of Sathymangakam Tiger Conservation Foundation.
At present more focus is given to eco-tourism and this also paves way for road kills and habitat destruction, Kumaraguru noted.