Leaopards and Black Bears Stalk Kashmir Village

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Leaopards and Black Bears Stalk Kashmir VillageSrinagar: At least 27 villagers have been killed last year by leopards and Himalayan black bears which are wandering into remote hamlets and villages of Kashmir, a region where man-animal conflict is sharply increasing, officials say.
They say more than 328 people mostly children have been also injured in different animal attacks during the same period.
27 persons died in such incidents besides 328 persons injured in Kashmir division, Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmed said recently.
The Minister was replying to the demand of grants for the Forests Department in the House on Wednesday.
Leopard and Himalayan black bear populations have increased after a ban on hunting was enforced in Kashmir in 1970.
And with increasing plundering of forests the natural habitat of wild animals was lost or at least fragmented, experts say.
Also, the man-animal conflict showed a drastic increase after the authorities erected a fence along Kashmirs border with Pakistan designed to stop militant incursions.
The nine feet high fence is curbing the animals movement, the experts add.
Mian Altaf said the ex-gratia relief for the victims of man-animal conflicts has been increased to Rs. 3 lakh, adding that several measures were taken to check the incidents.
Authorities also said they set up control rooms and distributed leaflets urging people living near forests to take precautions to prevent more casualties.
But nothing stopped the cats and bears from setting out on prowl.
Wildlife sharpshooters have killed nearly a dozen man-eaters in recent past.
There have been many instances in the past when villagers have themselves managed to bring down man-eaters with batons and stones,