Cattle sent to graze in reserved forest gets eaten by leopards
Farmers living along the edge of the reserve forest near Pernambut face a dangerous dilemma. In the current dry season, the farmers let their cattle and herd graze into the reserve forest even though it accounts for trespassing.
This, however, has attracted further problems as the reserve forest has been home to three leopards and their cubs for three years. Hence, farmers often lose their animals to prey but cannot complain to the authorities as they had been trespassing and would additionally be fined by the forest department for the violation.
The Naickaneri, Pallalakukppam, Mrodhana and Serangaal reserve forests border neighboring Andhra Pradesh and it is this dense terrain that helps wild animals including wild pigs, elephants and leopards, to traverse across the border.
It was only two days ago that Subramani, a farmer of Madinapalli, sent ten goats to graze in the Thenmalai area near Mittapalli forest and only six returned in the evening. Of them, two were wounded.
Madinapalli resident J Krishanaveni told this newspaper, “Wild animals keep killing our livestock, but no forest official takes serious note of it as they know it is a case of trespassing into the forest.”
When Subramani went in search of the missing goats a day later, he found the remains with evidence that they had been attacked and devoured by a carnivore. When he approached the forest officials to complain they told him they could do nothing as he took the risk when he sent his goats to herd in the forest without permission.
Ten days ago, a farmer of Kottaiyur lost a cow and a calf when after he sent them to graze within the forest.
Sources from the forest department said that there was little that they could do as the cattle were being sent to graze on the sly. “The forest is the natural habitat of wild animals and when we transgress into their area we are taking chances with our lives,” an official said.