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First ever leopard census in India shows impressive numbers

The count was conducted along with the tiger census last year and includes the regions in and around habitat across India.

A leopard sits at the rehabilitation centre of the Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary, some 165 kms from Siliguri.
File Photo
AFP photo
The very first leopard count in India has shown impressive numbers putting the population of the spotted cats at 7,910. The figure excludes the northeastern region of India. The leopard count was conducted in a similar manner as the usual tiger count where pictures of the leopards were captured using camera-trapping and other evidences were gathered showing evidence of their presence. After this, the numbers are extrapolated to cover the entire forest landscape. The count was conducted along with the tiger census last year and includes the regions in and around habitat across India. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lead scientist of the tiger census, who presented the leopard figures at Wildlife Institute of India’s annual research seminar in Dehradun last week, Yadvendradev V Jhala said, “”There are leopards outside the areas we covered. Based on these numbers, we estimate India’s total leopard population to be in the range of 12,000 to 14,000.”Jhala further said, “Most of the leopard populations are contiguous, ensuring a healthy genetic exchange. So, leopards do not face the problems of isolated populations that plague Indian tigers..There’s an impression that leopards are everywhere. That’s not the case. Leopards need a protected patch of forest to occur in the vicinity. They aren’t found in purely agricultural stretches” a leading daily reported. ‚Äč

Nepal earthquake kills 17 in India

At least 17 people died in India when a second powerful earthquake hit Nepal and the surrounding Himalayan region.

108 people from West Bengal yet to be traced in Nepal: Mamata Banerjee

Siliguri: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said 108 people from the state who were in Nepal on various purposes were yet to be traced and efforts were on to locate them.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTIWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

“As per the information available, another 336 people of Bengal who were in Nepal have either come back or are on their way back,” Banerjee told a press conference after holding a meeting with senior officials of different departments in Siliguri.

“We are sending a bus to Nepal to send people who want to go there to meet their near and dear ones, as also to bring back those stranded there,” Banerjee said.

“Our first priority is to save and protect lives. We will ask for funds from the Centre only after proper and total assessment,” she said in reply to a question.

She also formed a crisis management group to deal with the impact of the devastating Nepal earthquake on three districts of north Bengal and said monetary assistance would be sought from the Centre after detailed assessment of the damages.

“We have formed a crisis management group headed by Director General of Police (Coastal Security) Raj Kanojia. It has members from the disaster management group, police and hospital authorities,” Banerjee said.

Three persons were killed and 69 others, including 43 school children, were injured in the earthquake which had a major effect in the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar.

The Chief Minister also visited some of the places affected by Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in neighbouring Nepal, which shares its border with the Darjeeling district.

“We will write to the Centre for financial assistance only after making a detailed assessment of damages to life and property,” the chief minister said, adding, it was the onus of the central government to provide such support as it was a case of natural disaster.

“I have asked the PWD and Irrigation departments to check all the bridges in North Bengal to find out whether these have been damaged by the earthquake,” she said.

PTI

Andhra Pradesh police raid godown in West Bengal, seize 11 tonnes of red sandalwood

Besides seizing logs of red sandalwood of value between Rs 10-20 crore, the police also arrested sandalwood smuggler Sounder Rajan.

Representative image

dna Research & Archives
The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force of Andhra Pradesh Police carried out a raid at Siliguri in West Bengal on Monday and seized red sandalwood weighing over 11 tonnes. According to sources, the raid was carried out after arrested smugglers were questioned by the Andhra Pradesh police officers following the controversial encounter that claimed the lives of as many as 20 red sandalwood smugglers in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.Besides seizing logs of red sandalwood of value between Rs 10-20 crore, the police also arrested sandalwood smuggler Sounder Rajan. He is being taken to Andhra Pradesh on transit remand. Rajan is reportedly a Myanmar national and used to operate from this godown at Siliguri. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the search is still on across that stretch, the West Bengal authorities are tight-lipped on the entire issue of the state being used as a transit point of red sandalwood smuggling to neighbouring countries. Sources in the police say that these red sandalwood logs were ready to be transported to China through Nepal and Burma. Red sandalwood are in huge demand in China and and is often sold at Rs 10 crore per tonne in China. But, in India the same red sandalwood cost something between Rs 15-20 lakh per tonne.

Bihar: Three killed, five injured in bus-truck collision in Bhagalpur

Bhagalpur: Three persons were killed, while five others were seriously injured in a collision between a passenger bus and a truck at Naugachhia in Bhagalpur district of Bihar on Wednesday morning.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Naugachhia Superintendent of Police (SP) Shekhar Kumar said the accident happened near Madrauni Chowk under Rangra police outpost. The bus was going from Muzaffarpur to Siliguri in West Bengal, while the goods laden truck was coming from the opposite direction.

“The driver of the ill-fated bus Ram Kishore Singh (45), an unidentified passenger, and helper of the truck Anuj Kumar (35) lost their lives in the accident. Both the vehicles have been extensively damaged. The truck driver escaped after leaving the vehicle,” he added.

The SP said all the injured were traveling in the bus. They have been admitted to Naugachhia Sadar Hospital. The dead bodies have been sent for postmortem.

PTI

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