`Leopards stray into human habitats during breeding season`
Guwahati: The recent spurt of leopard straying into human habitats in Assam can be primarily attributed to loss of forest cover as the dominant male of the species usually drive out weaker ones during breeding season, according to an environmentalist.
"During the breeding season, the dominant males usually drive out the weaker ones out of their territory and as the size of their habitat has decreased, the leopard stray into human habitat," noted environmentalist and Director of Nature`s Beckon Soumyadeep Dutta told PTI.
Altogether 15 leopards have strayed into human habitats, with Guwahati registering the highest of seven, during the last two months, and four of these were killed.
Dutta said the straying of the leopards would further increase during the monsoon season as the pregnant female would come out in search of a safe place to deliver cubs in fear of the male who usually attack the new borns.
"Guwahati, which bore the brunt of the recent leopard attacks, should be thankful to the large population of monkeys, mostly rhesus macaque, here as these form a major food of the leopards or else human casualty would have been much higher," he said.
Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said that the government has constituted a committee to study the causes leading to leopard-man conflict and its recommendations would be implemented accordingly.
Dutta suggested the introduction of different animals like barking deer and wild rabbits in leopard dominated forest areas to provide food for the animal.
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