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Constant Fear Grips Upcountry Estate Residents Amid Leopard Threats

Residents of upcountry estates are living in a state of perpetual fear due to the recurring presence of leopards in the estates. The danger posed by leopards hiding under the tea bushes has become a serious concern for estate workers, prompting urgent attention.

In a recent incident, a tea plucker fell victim to a leopard attack while the big cat was feeding on the carcass of a dog beneath a tea bush. This alarming event highlights the immediate threat to the safety of estate workers.

Another incident in Bridwell Estate, Bogawantalawa, involved a worker being attacked by a leopard on her way to work, resulting in serious injuries. The rising incidents have prompted calls for effective measures from wildlife authorities to protect the community from leopard threats and prevent retaliatory actions by villagers resorting to traps.

Trade union representatives emphasize the need for a comprehensive strategy to safeguard the people living in these estates. At the same time, they urge wildlife authorities to mitigate the risks posed by leopards without resorting to lethal measures.

Responding to the concerns, the Wildlife Veterinary Surgeon of Randenigala Wildlife Veterinary Unit suggested that estate workers should raise alarms to frighten away leopards when spotted among the tea bushes. While acknowledging leopards as generally bashful animals that avoid human contact, he emphasized the importance of not provoking them, as they might resort to aggression when feeling threatened.

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