Wild or Tame? Video of a Leopard Interacting with Humans Leaves People Utterly Confused
A video of a leopard interacting with humans in quite a friendly way has left people baffled. According to the first information received, this video was filmed in Tirthan Valley of Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh. The animal can be seen walking down the vehicle-filled road while jumping up and rubbing against humans present.
Allegedly, this leopard is wild, not a pet. The animal roamed the road for a while, as people started filming its movements. After spending quite some time in human presence, the leopard left the road unharmed and moved towards a bushy area. Apparently, the animal has descended to lower elevations due to the snowfall in higher altitudes of the region.
The video was posted by Ajay Banyal on his Facebook page, with a message stating that humans have recklessly encroached deep into the forest lands and destroyed the habitat of wild animals such as this leopard. He warned that while this animal was docile and didn’t attack the crowd, humans better leave the wild habitats and their inhabitants unharmed and untouched, for their own sakes.
The human-animal conflict has always been a huge issue, as both parties have suffered severe losses. In many cases, people tend to attack wild animals that are known to be violent, even if they don’t attack them first. Many such cases of conflict have been reported in India for years and yet there is no solution to this problem.
The video has been widely shared on social media. While many people have criticized the incident and the way people behaved with the animal as if it was on display in a shop, the episode has a silver lining – peaceful coexistence.
— Vaibhav Singh,IFS (@VaibhavSinghIFS) January 14, 2021
With the sort of calm this animal roamed amongst humans without harming them, and the self-control these people exhibited is no short of extraordinary. This video comes as a ray of hope that humans and wild animals can indeed live in harmony without inflicting any harm to one another.
Himachal Watcher further investigated the matter as it highly unlikely for an apex predator to roam amidst people with such calm. Apparently, the road where the incident took place is in the vicinity of the Great Himalayan National Park. DFO, Banjar, Praveen Thakur revealed that as baffling as it was to see a wild predator to be playing with humans, this leopard was merely a cub of about seven to eight months.
The forest officer rejected the speculations of the animal raised as a pet and condemned the behaviour of people as it not only endangered their lives but the animal’s as well. He said that the behaviour of wild animals is highly unpredictable and upon sensing even a shred of a threat the cub could have attacked someone in the crowd – and given the record of men beating animals to death, it could have lost its life.
While everyone was surprised by the animal’s behaviour in the video, Praveen Thakur said that as it was merely a cub, who got separated from its mother, and cubs have no experience in hunting or the incident would have turned entirely different. Apparently, the mother lives in a nearby forest with its cubs; there was a fire incident and the cub most probably got separated from the mother.
The cub was scared at the beginning and was avoiding people but when vehicles stopped to look at it, it sensed that humans were not hostile and became friendly with them, playing like a pet dog. The animal was clearly curious and being inexperienced in hunting and surviving on its own, it started to explore the new environment it found itself.
Upon receiving the report of the incident, the forest department sent a rescue team to bring the cub back to its mother. Before releasing the cub into the wild, it underwent a medical checkup to determine whether it was injured or entirely healthy.
The forest officer has also urged people to avoid wild animals if they encounter one, for their safety and for the animal’s as well.
When left unharmed and unbothered, wild animals tend to avoid human crowds and leave them untouched; forced interactions could lead to human-animal conflicts. Although a predator can not shed its basic nature to hunt, we would like to believe that we can one day live in harmony with our fellow living beings.