Leopard deaths: Rana sniffs out pesticide, but villagers deny wrongdoing

Leopard deaths: Rana sniffs out pesticide, but villagers deny wrongdoing

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-07-12 17:09 Bengaluru: The investigation into the death of leopards at Bandipur hit a roadblock on Tuesday after villagers threatened forest officials over a pesticide bottle that was sniffed out by Forest department's only sniffer dog, Rana, from a villager’s house.Following the suspicious death of a black panther and a leopard cub, the entire forest staff of Omkar range along with Conservator of Forests, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Heeralal assembled at Anchepura or Devarayanashetty village to probe the matter.The conservator of the tiger reserve pressed the sniffer dog Rana into service. Soon, the dog’s nose took it to a house, from where it returned with a bottle of pesticide.The owner of the house, Kumara, immediately started protesting saying he was innocent. “I do not own a farm nor do I have any livestock. I am just a farm labourer. There must be something wrong here,” he argued.Enraged villagers supported Kumara, warning officials of dire consequences if they touched him. The villagers even pushed a media person who was filming the incident and damaged his camera.Asking the forest staff to go back, they snatched the pesticide bottle from the officials, forcing the staff to retreat.A forest official on condition of anonymity said the problem began after the leopards killed a dog in the village, following which the villagers poisoned the leopards.The department said it was the first time a black panther had been poisoned in Bandipur.