Last Updated: September 05, 2023, 10:41 IST
In the hot and arid landscape of Rajasthan, life is a constant struggle for survival. Bera, a hamlet located between Udaipur and Jodhpur, has been grabbing headlines for many years due to the presence of one of the fiercest predators of the wild, leopards. Bera has set an example that humans and wild animals can indeed co-exist peacefully. Human-wildlife conflicts usually end up negatively, but such is not the case in this region.
Located in the Pali district of Rajasthan, Bera is renowned for leopards roaming around freely, while humans too continue to live in this region. This coexistence can be credited to a few factors. The first is respect and acceptance. The inhabitants of Bera are the Rabaris, a semi-nomadic shepherding community. They migrated from Iran thousands of years ago. They are worshippers of Shiva and believe that livestock killed by the leopard is a food offering to God. They have also accepted that the big cats too have the right to hunt and consider it to be a sacrifice.
Another factor is the community’s understanding. They understand and respect the space of the wild cats and make sure to cause minimal impact on their natural way of life. They tend to avoid making hotels in the densely-populated area. For generations, Bera inhabitants have considered the leopards as an integral part of their environment and have learned to live with them. This unique aspect of the hamlet has attracted crowds from far and near. The place also offers daytime safaris for tourists to witness this harmonious existence.
The third possible factor may be the geography of Bera. The hamlet is surrounded by rocky hills, and caves, which end up being the perfect hiding spot for the leopards and thus, they can avoid direct contact with humans.
The love and harmony have reached such a state, that leopards do not harm humans or children. Similarly, even people, especially children do not get scared upon spotting a leopard. Reportedly, there was once an incident, where a leopard had grabbed a child, but left the young one immediately and then ventured into the forest. Leopards in this region roam freely without fearing poaching or any other threat.