The state forest department has issued permission to capture or kill a “maneater” leopard, which is believed to have killed as many as seven persons and injured four others in Beed, Aurangabad and Solapur forest divisions between November 15 and December 5, 2020.
According to the forest department, the suspected “maneater” leopard has created havoc in various villages under the Beed and Solapur forest divisions, including places in Beed, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Aurangabad districts.
On November 16, the leopard attacked and killed two persons identified as Ashok Avate (50) and Krushna Avate at Apegaon in Paithan. On November 21, 44-year-old Chabubai Eknath Rathod was killed in a leopard attack at BhagwanGad in Pathardi forest range.
Next day, on November 21, 40-year-old Alka Rajendra Bade was injured in a leopard attack at Jatwad village in Shirur taluka of Beed district. Then, on November 24, a man identified as Nagnath Gahininath Garje (36) was killed in a leopard attack at Surudi village in Ashti in Beed district.
On November 27, the leopard killed ten-year-old Swaraj Sunil Bhapkar at Kinhi village in Ashti. A woman Sheelawati Baba Dinde (33) and Abhishek Dinde (15) were injured in a leopard attack at Mangrul in Ashti on November 28. Also, on November 29, a woman Surekha Nilkanth Bhosale (33) died and another woman Shalabai Shahaji Bhosale (60) was injured in a leopard attack at Pargaon village in Ashti.
Again on December 3, the leopard attacked and killed a man identified as Kalyan Devidas Funde at Limbewadi in Karmala in Solapur.
In view of the rising number of attacks on human beings by the leopard, a committee was formed by the forest department for studying the issue. The committee visited the places where the leopard attacked people.
A forest department team then intensified patrolling in the forest areas using government as well as private vehicles. Cages were kept at important locations and trap cameras, drone cameras were used for locating and trapping the leopard. Forest officials found that the leopard was particularly attacking human beings and no other animals. So, believing that the leopard has become a maneater, the forest officials are trying to cage or tranquilize it. But, if the leopard is not captured alive, permission was sought from higher authorities for killing it, considering threat to the life of human beings.
Nitin Kakodkar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), granted permission and passed an order in this regard on December 6. The order will be effective till January 31, 2021.
Order mentions that priority should be given to capture the leopard alive. Also, no awards should be announced for killing the leopard. Sniffer dogs should be used for locating the leopard.
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