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Farmers unable to harvest sugarcane crop due to leopard fear
Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), April 27 - Farmers in Nizampur village in Pilibhit district have stopped harvesting their cane crop after a female leopard and her five cubs were sighted in a field.
The mother leopard has been shifting the cubs from one sugarcane field to another, instead of taking them to the nearby forest of Pilibhit tiger reserve.
The sugar mill procuring sugarcane of Nizampur has announced the end of its current crushing session on April 30, the farmers harvest their cane crop before the deadline. However, they are unable to do so as the mother leopard remains hidden in the sugarcane fields with her cubs.
Chief conservator of forest (CCF), Bareilly zone, Lalit Verma, said, "The approximate distance of 500 meters between the cane field and the forest is obviously too long for the mother leopard to carry the cubs in her mouth. Another reason could be to that she is trying to protect the cubs from other carnivorous animals in the forests."
He said that the forest department has no special funds to compensate for the cost of the cane crop standing near the cubs' hiding spot.
"This would have helped us keep the spot in question unharvested until the cubs grow and start moving frequently. Protecting the cubs from stray animals is another challenge we are facing at the moment," he added.
Meanwhile, officials from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) are working in tandem with the forest personnel to maintain the safety and security of the cubs. The cubs will remain protected for another four weeks until they start walking on their own.
DFO Adarsh Kumar, said that the field forest team has been providing regular drinking water supply to protect the cubs from dehydration in hot weather.
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