With tranquilising guns to chicken wings, a team comprising about 18-20 members from the Ghaziabad district forest department to quick response rescue teams from Meerut conducted an operation in Sahibabad for nearly 11 hours – to save a 4-5-year-old male leopard, who had been caught by locals and locked in a room.
“We received help from the wildlife rescue team, which came from Meerut since we did not have advanced infrastructure. They got tranquilliser guns and medicines. The rescue operation took place throughout the night till early morning. Neither any person or the leopard were grievously hurt. The leopard has been released in the Shivalik range of Saharnpur,” said B P Singh, District Forest Officer, Ghaziabad.
According to officials, in the last 2-3 years, at least three instances of leopard spotting in Ghaziabad has taken place. “Last year in Meerut, a leopard was caught and tranquillised. Two dead leopards were found in Ghaziabad district – one in Murad Nagar and the other in Loni. One of them died of some illness while the other died due to electrocution,” said Asif Faizad, Forest Range Officer, Ghaziabad.
Receding forest areas with human population occupying those areas are the reason behind such cases. “The Sahibabad spotting happens close to the Yamuna belt and near the Hindon Air base, which has forest areas. Many a times, wild cats get separated from their pack, get lost and turn up in such areas. The main danger is ensuring that no lives are lost. Humans feel that a leopard has entered their homes while we are the ones who are encroaching upon their habitat,” Faizad added.