Two previous posts on the same topic, are :
And click here for one of his beautiful pictures of a leopard:
Wild and free
(pic: Kalyan Varma)
This is yet another example of our conflict with the animals we share our living spaces with....a conflict in which there are no winners, only losers.
I can certainly imagine how the parents of the little girl, and the people of her village, would feel; other villages would also feel endangered. For them, judging this as an "accident" would probably be deeply angering and would add to their sense of frustration that the government is doing nothing to protect them.
But in the process of trying to catch the actual animal, how many leopards are they going to send into captivity, ? What about releasing the little leopard which is obviously not the one being sought in this instance,perhaps after fitting a transponder, as Kalyan suggests?
One of our friends in Kolkata, where I grew up, was one of the few in West Bengal who started using tranquillisers instead of bullets when summoned to kill man-eating tigers in West Bengal. I have seen both animals that are newly-captured, and animals that have been in captivity for a length of time. The former are so obviously in shock and traumatised, half-crazy with fear, struggling to get free; the latter, their spirits broken, are docile shadows of what they are in the wild.
I fully understand the view of one birder in a city I visited in St Louis, who said he would never step into a zoo and see a captive animal...but real life doesn't have black-and-white situations, there are so many shades of grey, and in every tinge it is the poor villagers, AND the poor animals, who suffer, and we in the city read apathetically about the latest news item, click our tongues, and turn the page...