Himansu Shekhar Rout

A day after a leopard reportedly killed an 8-year-old boy at Kantipani Godhaspada under Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district, the forest department has deployed a special squad in the sanctuary and surrounding areas to keep a close watch on the big cat on the prowl.

The big cat has also allegedly killed a cow of Arjun Fharua, a resident of the village. Following such incidents, the villagers reportedly are living in jitters. The residents fear to venture out to their farmlands. They are keeping guard on their children in the village.    

Addressing a presser, Sunabeda DFO Mahadeo Budak expressed his grief over the death of the child and sympathized with the bereaved family. 

The DFO said, “We have got information about a leopard on the prowl in the area. We are keeping a close watch on its movement through trap cameras which have been installed at various places under the forest division for the purpose of tiger census.” 

He further stated that the department will make people aware of the dangers from the big cat. As for demands of the local residents, Budak added that the department will also try to fulfil the demands of the local residents such as fencing and lighting in the area.  

“The ex-gratia amount for a ‘human kill’ is Rs 6 lakh. Initially, we have provided Rs 50,000 to the bereaved family for post-death rituals. The remaining amount of the ex-gratia will be paid in the next two or three days following the official process,” the DFO said.

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On the other hand, Odisha Forest, Environment Minister, Pradip Kumar Amat, who chaired a conference of the DFOs in Bhubaneswar, directed the officials to work proactively and take measures to prevent man-animal conflicts that have been raging in various parts of the forested pockets. 

The minister also called upon the DFOs to initiate safety measures for the people living near forests.

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