During the past 20 years, very few locals ventured to go deep into the forests for fear of being caught in crossfires between the freedom fighters and the Indian security forces. The local hunters were ordered to hand in their guns. The impact of all that has led to a huge increase in the wildlife population. Not just black partridge, pheasants and deer have increased in the thousands, but man-eater leopards, black bears and wolves are seen roaming well beyond the pine forests and around residential areas "like stray dogs and cats" as stated by a resident. The number of black bears has particularly proliferated from 700 about twenty years ago to 3,000 at present. Already more than 55,000 Kashmiris fighting the Indian occupation have been killed since the past 20 years. And now scores are getting killed every year by wild beasts.
Leopards and bears have unleashed terror in the valley. Hundreds of people have lost their lives while the number of those injured cannot be assessed. Quoting a resident, Mudasir Ahmed Khan: "It is very difficult to go out in the fields alone as wild animals like leopards, black bears and even wolves are roaming freely, and anyone caught between these animals either gets killed or badly injured."
Another resident described the situation as the "wild animals being on a killing spree." The town of Sopore is prone to wolf attacks. Much of the nearby pine forests were cleared during the insurgency by forest smugglers, and wolves have started coming to residential areas in search of food. The residents say the wolves are just as dangerous as leopards and bears, literally tearing people into pieces if attacked.
Farmers are afraid to go to their fields and orchards in the morning and evening hours. Whenever they do go, they go in groups.
Residents also mention that vast areas of Kashmiri forests were cleared by Indian authorities during the insurgency. Consequently, pregnant bears, leopards and wolves came down to the plains for their safety and to deliver their cubs nearer to the villages and towns. When these cubs grew up, they became used to the environment away from the forests and people in residential areas began getting attacked more frequently.