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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Forest department to trap leopard, cubs spotted in Borivli mill compound

Nikhil M Ghanekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 12, 2013
First Published: 01:24 IST(12/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:25 IST(12/5/2013)

After three weeks of studying the movement of a female leopard and her cubs in the abandoned Khatau Mill compound in Borivli (East), the forest department has decided to trap the cats so that they can be released back into the forest.

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The residents of Ekta Meadows Society, a housing colony bordering the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) have routinely spotted the leopard in and around their compound over the past three weeks.

The female leopard roaming around with its cubs for food in the mill compound adjacent to the society has come within breathing distance of the residents.

On Saturday, the territorial wing of the forest department decided to place traps in the mill compound.

Residents of the 420 homes have been watchful especially since the leopard sightings increased. After trailing the leopard and her cubs through Friday, SGNP officials noted the animal’s regular movements as well as its water and food sources.

“We don’t allow our kids to play in the society’s backyard. We are also planning to increase the height of the compound fence. The forest officers told us to not threaten the leopard or crowd near it if it was spotted,” said Aashish Savant, secretary, Ekta Meadows Society.

However, wildlife activists said that since the leopard and her cubs were roaming only in the abandoned mill area, they should not be trapped. “There should not be a hurry to trap the leopard because they were spotted by the residents frequently,” said Krushna Tiwari, an independent wildlife activist.

“From its movement pattern, it seems the leopard has given birth to the cubs in the mill area and she is raising them in that space. The situation might worsen if the cubs are trapped and the mother is free outside.”


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