A male leopard was caught in a trap laid by the state forest department at Khamundi village, Junnar, on Thursday. Forest officials took the leopard to the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. “The leopard was brought to the centre around 8 am. The nine-year-old animal is healthy and aggressive. No wounds were found on its body. On May 7, a female leopard was trapped at Dingore village in Junnar and brought to the centre,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, veterinary officer of Wildlife SOS, which runs the centre in Junnar.
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Incidents of leopards killing children were reported from both Khamundi and Dingore villages in the past one month. “On April 17, a five-year-old boy, Praveen Devaram Dudhpade, was picked by a leopard from his house located at an isolated area in Khamundi village around 5 am. There were goats around, but the leopard attacked the boy. The body of the boy was later recovered from the bushes nearby,” forest officials said.
The same day, a leopard attacked a three-year-old girl, Renuka Gopal Waghmare, around 4 am, while she was sleeping under a tamarind tree with her family. Her father and others present at the spot managed to rescue her. She suffered injuries on her neck.
On May 3, around 10.30 pm, when members of the Mandlik family in Dingore village were spending some time together at their house, located near a busy road, a leopard picked up their two-and-half-year-old boy, Sai Mandlik, who was playing in the corner of the gallery. Later, his body was recovered from a banana farm. These incidents had created panic among villagers. Following which, the forest department set up around 10 cages at strategic locations in Dingore and Khamundi village. One cage was laid outside the house of Haribhau Mengal, whose grandson was killed by a leopard. On Thursday morning, a leopard was found trapped in the cage. Villagers, however, believe that there are more leopards in the region. So, the cages have still been kept in the area where villagers spotted the leopard movement.