This Gujarat village turns into a leopard sanctuary, big cats roam freely, are caught in forest department’s cages

Surat: Vareli village of Mandvi tehsil in the district is gradually turning into a leopard sanctuary. Leopards seen wandering in the fields is a common feature for the villagers.

So far 32 leopards have been caught from a single farm. This is the biggest record of catching so many leopards fueling fears of possible man-animal conflict.

For farmer Yusuf Bhau, seeing a leopard wandering in his field is nothing unusual. The Forest Department has kept a cage here to catch the leopards.

Recently a leopard was caught in the cage. Leopards prey on animals from far and wide and bring them to the farm to eat them here comfortably. Most of the leopards caught by the forest department have been released back into the jungles.

Bones of chicks, dogs, sheep and goats can be seen strewn everywhere. This is causing heavy loss to the farmers.

No prey or water in forests, so leopards are venturing out

Villagers live in fear. They say water sources in the forest have dried up and so so leopards are venturing out.

The population of leopards is increasing in Vareli. Farmers and labourers are scared to go to the fields. They have demanded electricity supply even during daytime.

They say that leopards are coming towards the villages due to non-availability of water and prey in the jungles.

Power supply is erratic. Power supply is important for irrigation of crops. Along with this, the villagers have also demanded strict action from the forest department.

They say that leopards roam around freely in the farms and the village but the department simply puts the cage and does nothing more.