December 22, 2020 11:28:40 pm
While the sightings of Gaurs in Pune may be making headlines, the residents of Sutarwadi area on the outskirts of the city, where the animal was spotted on Tuesday, say that spotting Gaurs in their area is not uncommon.
A Sutarwadi resident, Sunil Bhandare, said he has seen a Gawa or Gaur many times in the area. “We see a Gaur once or sometimes twice a month. We don’t do anything when we see it, because it is not dangerous. It sometimes ventures into our fields. We see it at the boundary of the forest… it sometimes eats the hay kept for cattle. But that’s fine, we don’t mind that,” he said.
Another resident, Ajay Ranpise, whose house is right in the middle of the agricultural field where the Gaur strayed into a couple of times on Tuesday, said, “Gaurs have crossed paths with us many times. There are some Gaurs in the forest area behind us and they often come into our fields.”
Ranpise, who is getting married on Wednesday, said that a Gaur sighting would in no way affect the wedding ceremony. “It’s not at all new for us. I don’t understand why people are making a fuss about it. It’s because of our behaviour that the shy animal gets provoked. If we mind our own business, it minds its own.”
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Sunil Limaye, said, “We have spoken to the local residents, and they said that they have seen Gaurs in the past too, which means that there is a habitat of Gaur in the forest behind the HEMRL-Sutarwadi area.”
Forest department officials said that these animals might be venturing into the forest near city limits, seasonally or long term, from the larger forest region of Mulshi-Tamhini.
Deputy Conservator of Forest for Pune region, Rahul Patil, said, “Based on recent sightings and what the locals have told us, we can expect more such encounters. It is really important that people do not do anything that provokes the animal. We must learn to respect it and allow it to move on its own path. Crowding makes the animal panic further. It has kind of become part of these settings and locals are used to it. At this stage, we can’t really say how many of them are living in the forest area and whether they are there permanently of seasonally.”
When contacted, a senior official from HEMRL said that though they have heard of Gaur sightings in the forest area behind the campus, no sightings have been reported from within the campus, which also has a significant forest cover.
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