Following the second incident of a Gaur being spotted in Pune urban limits, Forest department officials said they will undertake a study to understand the habitat and paths of Gaurs in the forests adjoining city limits, and will also hold a meeting with city police officials for a coordinated response in such man-animal conflict situations.
Two weeks after a four-year-old male Gaur ventured into a residential locality in Pune’s Kothrud area on December 9, and died due to suspected exhaustion after its capture by the Forest department, another Gaur was spotted in Sutarwadi area in Pune along the bypass road of Mumbai-Bangalore Highway on Tuesday morning. In the evening, following day-long efforts, Forest department teams succeeded in driving the animal back into the adjacent forest area with what they termed as ‘least possible intervention.’
During Tuesday’s situation, Forest department officials had decided that the best course of action was to make the animal move back into the forest area behind the HEMRL campus, from where it was believed to have ventured towards the city limits.
Subsequently, nets and barricades were put up by Forest department staff at the points from where the Gaur could move towards the highway bypass road or into the city area. Only one route towards the forest was kept open. The animal walked back into the forest at around 7 pm.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Sunil Limaye said, “As of now, we have deployed a couple of teams in Sutarwadi area, which will patrol the surroundings and make primary observations about the presence of Gaurs in the area. Based on what local residents have told us, we now know that there is a habitat of Gaurs in a forest area behind HEMRL-Sutarwadi region. We will be soon undertaking a study to understand the presence of Gaurs in this area. The study team will comprise two Forest department officials, two local residents and a researcher. With the knowledge of the surroundings that the local residents have, we will try to understand how the Gaurs have been living in this area and if they have been there for long, and why we have had more cases of interface with them in the recent past.”
Limaye added, “Today, I met Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta, and we discussed our responses to the situations which arose recently. We will soon be holding a meeting with Pune police officials, wherein we will discuss in detail how we and the police can coordinate better in such man-animal interface situations, and can do effective crowd control, among other necessary responses.”
Deputy Conservator of Forest for Pune region, Rahul Patil, who coordinated efforts on the ground in Kothrud as well as in Sutarwadi, said, “As part of the study, we will try to understand the paths taken by the Gaurs, their habitat and habits. Effort will also be made to understand how they have come to live in a forest area so close to the city. The Gaurs are found in forests, right from Tamhini in Pune region to Radhanagari in Kolhapur region. We will try to understand if they have moved here from any of those regions, and why. Also, we will study why lone males are venturing into these urban limits.”
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