Mridul Bora, Pragoti Kalita, Bibekananda Kakoti, Shah Nawaz Jelil & Prof. Prasanta Kumar Saikia
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
In many parts of India leopard lives in close proximity to human habitations. Moreover leopards manage to survive on a variety of small wild prey and domestic animals. In starvation period leopard enters in human settlements and conflict begin. Leopard human conflict news is very common in Guwahati metro of Assam. It increases day by day. So a case study was conducted to prepare a checklist of conflicts in last 6 years and to evaluate the reasons for minimizing the conflicts.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
The case study was carried out from 2nd February of 2013 to 29th April of 2014. The study was restricted in the Guwahati metro, located in North-East India. Geographically, this hill is located between 26º05′ to 26º15′ N Latitude and 91º35′ to 91º55’ E Longitudes. Guwahati has a total municipal area of 264 km2 and population is about 963,429 and 19 hillocks are spread in all over the metro. Two conventional methods were adopted to conduct the case study. First method is the literature study. Articles, newspaper reports, electronic media news, departmental records were tracked to know the recorded conflict cases. Second method is the questionnaire survey. Snowball sampling method was adopted for questionnaire survey to minimize the chance of misreporting. This survey was conducted among 1100 people in the 11 different parts of the metro to record the unreported conflicts cases.
Results: What are your most important results?
From literature study we have recorded 20 conflicts in the metro. From questionnaire survey we have recorded 38 conflicts. Maximum conflicts were recorded from the hilly area of the metro rather than residential or commercial area. All recorded conflict cases (from both survey methods) occurred in winter season and both morning and evening time is seems common in maximum conflicts. Questionnaire survey suggests sighting of leopard is very common in the study site.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Conflicts have arisen owing mostly to the habitat loss of leopard as most of the conflicts were recorded in the hilly areas (remote) of the metro. These people are not aware of helpline numbers of respective authorities, even if they know they consider informing about the situation unimportant. This is why the literature study data and the questionnaire data differ so significantly. In all cases both leopard and human have suffered equally.