The National Defence Academy (NDA) has issued a cautionary note to its staff, their families and cadets after a leopard was sighted at various locations in and around the campus of the institute recently.
Sighting of the leopard in areas located close to Pune city limits was worrying and this was being investigated, said forest officials.
The NDA, India’s premier tri-service military training academy, occupies an area of 7,015 acres in Khadakwasla, from Sinhagad Valley till the limits of Pune city in Bavdhan and Pashan.
A note, issued by the security section of the academy on January 5, reads, “A leopard has been spotted several times at the following locations. Near filtration plant, Pashan gate, Trishakti gate, Long range and golf course. In order to avoid any untoward incident, following cautionary measures may please be exercised by all ranks, including civilian staff and their families. (a) Avoid single movement after sunset, Children are not to be left all alone, especially in dark hours or late evenings without any elderly attendance. (b) Officers and staff are to also sensitise their respective families on this issue. All are to ensure that the surrounding areas of their respective quarters are well lit up in the night. (c) All are to be more vigilant and careful and report such incidents to the security section immediately.”
A senior NDA officer said, “The presence of wildlife is not new to us as majority of our campus has vegetation and is next to the forest area. The sighting of leopard is being looked at with caution. The cautionary note is for the basic measures that the occupants of the campus have to take. At the appropriate level, communication is being initiated with the forest department. We did face the issue of presence of crocodiles in the Peacock Bay reservoir. We changed our practices to deal with the issue, keeping in mind conservation of wildlife. Same will be done in this case too.”
When asked if the leopard sighting would affect the night training regimen of cadets, an officer looking after their training said that the issue was being discussed and the safety of the cadets would never be compromised. An official from the forest department said, “The sighting of leopards in the area, as pointed out by some local residents of Ahire village and also some NDA guards, is being studied to assess the situation. We do not have information on whether the animal is by itself, which is a strong possibility considering that it is of a solitary nature, or if there are more than one. But it is worrying, considering the proximity to the city limits”.