GUWAHATI, Feb 5 � Forest Department personnel have expressed concern over the manner in which sightings of leopards and other lesser cats have been reported in a section of the press. They feel that the public, instead of being correctly informed, is being misled by reports which describe all members of the cat family as tigers.
A senior forest official who spoke to The Assam Tribune mentioned that without much knowledge about the various species, reports have referred to civet cats or leopard cats as tigers, which only add to apprehension among the public.
�When we refer to a tiger it is the Bengal tiger, and not smaller members of the cat family. By repeating about tiger sightings or attacks media reports only add to apprehension and fear among the common person,� he remarked.
Forest officials have noted that many reports have been published with photos with erroneous captions, which also confuse the public. Quite often images of lesser cats have been published with captions describing them as leopard or leopard cub.
One official when contacted said that the media should become acquainted with the wildlife brought into focus.
He said that the media can play a powerful role in not just highlighting the wildlife that has surfaced in settled areas, but also examine the causes behind their increased sightings.
If a section of the media can expose the large-scale change of land use in the forest areas in and around Guwahati, society will become more aware about the need to stop encroachment in the hilly areas as well as wetlands, he added.