Despite the presence of many leopards in Nallamala forests spread over 6,000 square kilometres, the human population inhabiting the forested villages and buffer zones remain largely unaffected when it comes to man-animal conflict.
Senior forest officials of Atmakur, Kurnool, and Nandyal divisions claim that leopards sightings have been rampant at fringe villages across the forest in recent years, close to the villages from Atmakuru through Sangameswaram and Velugodu, and towards Ahobilam, Srisailam, Markapur, and Giddalur ranges. Except for few instances of leopards killing and carrying away the sheep and stray dogs, no incident of them mauling villagers had been reported in the last decade.
It is observed that the Nallamala hill ranges have come to form a unique terrain with hills and valleys and several rivulets meandering through them, including Krishna and Bavanasini rivers — thus the wild animals straying away from their natural habitats would never arise. Due to the heavy presence of the antelope population and water bodies, the leopards hardly venture out from their territories.
A forest official said that the trekking routes to Srisailam are insulated from any threat of man-animal conflict. Hundreds of devotees use these footpaths at specified seasons, and they rarely sight a leopard or a tiger, but occasionally come across pugmarks.
Though the forest department has arranged some CC Cameras and camera traps at pivotal intersections in the forest ranges, they are maintained for administrative convenience and to keep a vigil on the tresspassers.
Divisional Forest Officer (Kurnool) P. Shiva Shankar Reddy said that in the Kurnool division, there is a rich presence of around 40 leopards at present. “Barring stray incidents of attacks on goats at the forest fringes, there is no incidence of any serious man-animal conflict in this region.” Divisional Forest Officer (Atmakur) Alenchen Teran also said that in the last couple of years, no incident of man-animal conflict was reported in the division, though there are several leopards lurking.