MIRZA, March 24 – An endangered stray clouded leopard – a Schedule I species under Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 - which was taking shelter today at the top of a bamboo grove at the Borjhar village near Borduar Reserve Forests under Loharghat Forest Range in Kamrup West Forest Division was killed due to wrong decision of the senior forest and veterinary expert. The clouded leopard which was taking shelter in the top of a bamboo grove around 25 meters over the ground died due to overdose of medicine used for tranquilizing the animal by a team of Assam State Zoo today without considering the risk of killing of the endangered species. The clouded leopard has died en route to the Assam State Zoo, according to the zoo doctor, ML Smith.Sources said that as large number of people have gathered to see the clouded leopard at the Borjhar village near here and the concerned forest and veterinary official made it hurry to tranquilize the animal without anticipating the risk of the animal being killed after falling from the tree top after tranquilization.
“It is not advisable to tranquilize animal living on tree top as the animal living on the tree tops might die ( getting injury ) soon after falling from the tree tops after tranquilization. The clouded leopard which was living on the tree tops about 25 meters over the ground should not have been tranquilized. It was believed that the animal could have died getting injury after falling from great heights and also due to over dose of tranquilizing. We demand the government to institute a high level enquiry into the killing of the animal and take punitive actions against the erring officials involved in killing of the endangered animal,” lamented a former honorary Wildlife Warden of the Government of Assam, pledging anonymity.
Sources said that the veterinary official believed that the animal might be a common leopard and they have injected drugs required for tranquilizing a common leopard – a much larger animal than the clouded leopard – and when the large amount of medicines were injected into the body of the clouded leopard – a relatively smaller animal than common leopard – the over dose of medicine in the dart ( bullet ) had contributed for killing of the animal , besides getting injury after falling from the tree tops.
The former Honoray Wildlife Waden told The Assam Tribune that forest personnel were repeatedly advised not to tranquilize the animal while it was in the tree tops and instead they were advised to facilitate the animal to escape during the night from the clutches of the public.
“Ironically, forest personnel made it hurry to tranquilize without making any sorts of precautions and anticipations which result in the killing of an endangered species,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that the clouded leopard was first sighted in a bamboo grove at 8 am today at Borjhar village near here.