Even as the forest department gropes in the dark over the problem leopard responsible for several fatal attacks in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) buffer zone,an eight-year-old boy was injured by a leopard in Lalpeth on the outskirts of Chandrapur at 7.30 pm Monday.
The attack happened far away from the problem area of Agarzari and Adegaon in TATR buffer where five people were killed and two injured between April 10 and 20.
The boy (Ganesh Atram) and his father were returning from a brick kiln when a leopard emerged from behind a bush. Fortunately,the boy escaped with minor claw injuries, additional principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) S S Mishra said.
Meanwhile,the forest department constituted a committee Tuesday to decide the fate of the three leopards caught over the past few days. The panel of three chief conservators of forest of Chandrapur and two honorary wildlife wardens will be headed by Mishra.
Third of the leopards was caught Monday.
Unable to establish identity of the animal from photographs of a leopard captured at Sadagadh on April 7 seen since as the problem leopard the forest department is playing it safe and holding the captured animals.
Why are they holding the animals if they dont know how to establish the identity? They captured the first one 19 days ago at Adegaon,where the problem leopard had killed two persons the same day. Attacks continued despite the capture,which means the captured animal wasnt the problem. So,why is the animal not being released back into the wild? On one hand the department says it doesnt have enough rescue centres to keep animals,on the other it is on a capturing spree, said an activist.
Mishra said,We are on the defensive since the crisis is big and we dont want to leave anything to chance. We have a feeling the female trapped Monday could be the problem animal,but we need to be 100 per cent sure about the animals identity before releasing it.
Asked why photographs were not being matched,he said,Photographic evidence isnt final. We are trying to match pugmarks too.