An eight-year-old male leopard was caught by the forest department officials from a farm in Mandvi taluka of Surat district on Thursday night. In the last 18 months, around 11 leopards have been caught from the same farm, forest officials pointed out.
The farm belongs to Yusuf Mahida, a resident of Vareli village, located 15 km from Mandvi. Though a farmer by profession, Mahida also runs a poultry farm in that place located on the fringes of his tiny hamlet.
On Thursday, the leopard was caught after forest officials laid a trap for the animal. The next day, they released it in the forest area of neighbouring Vyara taluka.
Yusuf has been regularly complaining to the forest department about the leopard attacks on his poultry farm. A few days ago, even his pet dog was killed.
“We have spent Rs 35 lakh in erecting a compound wall around our agricultural field and poultry farm. This will ensure the safety of the birds and the labourers working in the farm. In past one-and-a-half-year, leopards have killed seven goats, hundreds of hens and my pet dog. We are also helpless against the leopard menace. We have also instructed the farm labourers to remain close to each other while working in the field. There have been instances where our farm labourers have been injured in leopard attacks, Mahida said while talking to The Indian Express.
The Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Anil Vasawa, said, “The leopard is regularly visible in the fields of Yusuf Mahida. In last one-and-a-half-year, we have rescued 11 leopards from his fields and have released them in the forest areas. The reason for this leopard migration is largely because Mandvi taluka is on the banks of river Tapi and the animal can easily hide in the sugarcane fields. They enter in the human habitat in search for food. It is difficult to stop the migration of leopards.”