India is an agricultural country; animal husbandry has always been associated with agriculture. People still thrive upon animal products such as milk, meat and manure intensely for their essentialities. India has a huge cattle population and most of them graze in areas close to forests and their fringes competing for their pastoral needs with other wild animals. This then leads to human-wildlife conflicts, which tends to culminate in a number of tragic outcomes, including wild animal poisoning. Poisoning is perceived as an easy way for people to rid themselves of wild animals. Numerous factors, including the type of agriculture practices conducted, public knowledge regarding toxicity of a specific product, cost, availability in the local market place and physical properties such as color, taste and odor determine the extent to which specific pesticides are used to deliberately poison wild animals. This paper deals with a case of phorate poisoning, which is an agrochemical, in a leopard in Sholerock Estate, Coonoor, Nilgiris district. An empty sachet of phorate was found close by. This was confirmed by the result from Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL). Leopard is however more versatile and can adapt to diverse conditions. It is often observed within the core and in the buffer zones surrounding protected areas and managed forests. It can tolerate human presence to a point. There have been several incidences where leopards have preyed on livestock, dogs, children and even adult humans leading to conflict. Therefore, the loss of an apex predator, that holds a significant position in the upper trophic level, will have deleterious effect on the balance, ultimately threatening human survival directly and indirectly.
Key words: Conflict, phorate, poisoning.
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