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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Leopard suspected to be behind attacks trapped

The four-and-a-half-year-old big cat is the second female leopard to be trapped in the last five weeks.

Mumbai | Published: October 29, 2013 4:08:55 am

A female leopard was trapped at Adarsh Nagar in Aarey Colony Monday morning. The four-and-a-half-year-old big cat is the second female leopard to be trapped in the last five weeks.

Following a spate of attacks recently,officials of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) had set up two traps at Adarsh Nagar and another at Mataipada.

Forest officials suspect that the leopard trapped on Monday was behind the attacks in the past 10 days.

“It is the same area where she was spotted earlier. We will check the leopard’s microchip to get more details,” said Anwar Ahmed,deputy conservator of forests,Thane division.

“We can never be certain if the trapped leopard was behind the recent attacks. Even with the microchip,you cannot be sure if it is the same animal. The chip has data indicating if it was trapped earlier and where it was trapped. There is no GPS used in these chips to track the movements of the animals. It is a fairly complex situation. Those living along the periphery of the forest should take necessary precautions so that leopards don’t stray into their area,” said Sunetro Ghosal,member of Mumbaikar for SGNP,a project launched by the forest department to assess the conservation status of the common leopard.

Experts are examining the animal to ascertain if she is safe to be released. Officials have not yet decided on the area where it should be released.

“We will release the leopard as soon as we get a go-ahead from the doctors examining her. It could be as soon as Tuesday if she is fit. We will try to release her in an area where the population density is less,” said K P Singh,chief conservator of forests (territorial),Thane.

A ‘safe bait’ of chickens was used to trap the animal,said officials. The bait was kept in a separate cage and remained unharmed.

After studying pug marks and photographs,officials had concluded that the leopard behind the attacks was a female. Confident that they have trapped the right leopard,the officials will remove the cages on Tuesday.

“Not every animal attacks humans and domestic animals. We won’t trap any more leopards,” said Singh.

Officials had caught a two-and-a-half year-old leopard at Kolshet,near the Indian Air Force base,on September 24. “The leopard trapped at Kolshet was responsible for a drop in the number of dogs (from 100 to 20) in the Air Force area,” said Singh.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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