TURA, April 08: In an act that can only be considered as ignorant, insensitive and stupid, an endangered clouded leopard was killed and its meat posted for sale on social media prompting animal rights activists to go on an overdrive seeking action against the culprits.
The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat occurring in the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Since 2008, it is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ with a total population suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. The clouded leopard is the state animal of Meghalaya.
One Facebook user, Dodohm Chambukong, posted a photo on popular facebook page ‘Olx Tura’ wherein he posted a photo of an endangered clouded leopard that was killed, seeking Rs 2000 for the cat. The user later deleted his account though screenshots of the same were kept by activists who sent the same to the Wildlife and Forest departments.
The matter was also notified to the West Garo Hills (WGH) police who promised to act on the matter and ensure people behind the episode were taken to task.
Earlier too there were posts of some users who had posted their kill of the animals and when questioned blamed their ignorance to their actions.
“This is a condemnable act and the culprits need to be punished. The clouded leopard is an endangered animal and needs to be protected. How can people just kill these animals and boast of killing something that may not even last until our next generation? The Wildlife team needs to wake up,” said one Avinash Marak, a member of environmental NGO, CEPARD.
Another activist rued the lack of endangered species that were earlier regulars in the Garo Hills firmament, now not even being seen in places where they used to visit.
“Earlier people near Phulbari would see the annual coming of the amur falcon but our greed has ensured they never visit. Whenever they did, people with air guns and ‘batuls’ would shoot them down for meat. How heartless can we get,” asked another activist, SR Sangma.
The matter of the killing of clouded leopard and its sale on FB is currently being jointly investigated by Wildlife and police teams.