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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Guard was asleep in open forest area

Nikhil M Ghanekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 07, 2012
First Published: 01:39 IST(7/12/2012) | Last Updated: 01:39 IST(7/12/2012)

The private security guard Alexander VK Fernandes who was killed by a leopard at the Bhandup water complex on Thursday, was sleeping in the open against advice.

Wildlife experts said sleeping in the open near forest areas should be avoided at all costs.

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Thursday’s attack comes just three days after a four-year-old female leopard strayed into the ONGC Colony, Jogeshwari (East) on Monday and stayed put inside a building for more than four hours.

Forest department officials had noticed leopard pugmarks around the spot where civic body security guards found Fernandes’ body.
Vidya Athreya, wildlife expert, Centre for Wildlife Studies, said, “We always advise the people living in tribal hamlets that stepping out in the dark without torches and sleeping in the dark should be avoided. It is surprising how the leopard managed to drag a full-grown man across the road but left its prey partially eaten even thought it was undisturbed.”

“To avoid such attacks in the future, all the guards on night duty should be provided with enclosures,” Athreya said.

After forest department officials and Mulund police carried out a panchnama, the guard’s body was sent to Rajawadi hospital for a post-mortem. Fernandes, who does not have any family, was employed by Diamond Security Company to guard construction material that was being used for building the new pumping station.

“Fernandes had ended his morning shift at 8pm on Wednesday and according to staff at the complex, he was sleeping around the security post. His body was dragged around 75 metres and he bled to death after the leopard clawed at his neck,” said Sudhir Padwale, assistant conservator of forest, Thane division.

Employees at the Bhandup water complex who knew Fernandes, said he had sold a room he owned in Amar Nagar six months ago and often stayed inside the complex.

Past Attacks in 2012

May 6 Sunny Soni, 5, was killed by a leopard at Adarsh Nagar in Aarey milk colony.
Jul 16 Sanjana Thorat, 6, was killed by a leopard near her home at Shankar Tekdi, Mulund Colony, while answering nature's call.
Nov 2 Sitabai Paage, 50, was killed by a leopard at Maroshi Pada, Aarey Colony, Goregaon, while relieving herself.
Nov 5 The body of an unidentified person, killed by a leopard, was found near Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Nov 17 Usha Yadav, 2, was taken away by a leopard and killed near Tanajiwadi, Tembhipada, Bhandup (west)


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