The forest department (Thane division), has laid out a trap at Tembhipada, Bhandup (West), to capture the leopard that killed Alexander VK Fernandes on Thursday.
Since the attack on Fernandes and Usha Yadav happened in a radius of less than 2 sq km, the forest department decided to lay out the trap in Tembhipada.
“Three of the six deaths this year have occurred in areas close to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) between Bhandup and Mulund. There is always a chance that a leopard may return to the area where it has killed its prey, hence, we have laid out the trap here,” said a senior forest department officer from the Thane division.
After Yadav was killed on November 17 at Tanajiwadi, Bhandup (West), residents had seen leopards frequenting the area to prey on dogs for a couple of days.
The forest department had managed to capture three full grown leopards near Maroshi Pada in Aarey Colony between November 17 and November 20, after residents in the area reported daily leopard sightings.
Krishna Tiwari of City Forest Initiative said the high incidences of leopard attacks in one corner of SGNP are a worrying trend. “Three attacks have been witnessed on the southern tip of SGNP and there is a need to investigate if leopards are found in high number in this region. But I don’t believe that a man-eater is on a prowl. If it was a man-eater, the attacks would have been more frequent.”
SGNP authorities said since the problem of waste and human habitation is grave around the park’s periphery, demolition drives have begun to remove encroachments.
“We have already demolished close to 400 homes in Pimpripada, Malad, and our aim is to demolish around 4,000 more by the end of this month,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP.