The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from the government on traps being laid to capture a leopard recently sighted at the Yamuna biodiversity park.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also issued a notice to chief wildlife warden of Delhi and director of wildlife preservation of the ministry of environment and forests. It fixed the matter for hearing on March 3, 2017.
The petition filed by a local resident, Pushp Kumar Jain, has claimed that chief wildlife warden, who is in-charge of safeguarding and conserving wild animals within Delhi, acted against the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 by laying traps to capture the leopard.
The petition claimed that the order for laying down traps to capture the leopard, one among the endangered species, could only be issued if the animal is dangerous for human life or is disabled or diseased.
The plea said the leopard has been ‘peacefully residing’ in the biodiversity park and has not harmed anyone.
The petitioner said he got to know from media reports that on November 22, a leopard was sighted in the park. Its presence was also confirmed through the camera trap pictures by the authorities of the park.
He said the chief wildlife warden should follow the 2011 guidelines of the ministry of environment and forests, which say that mere sighting of a leopard in the vicinity of a human habitat does not necessarily mean that the animal has strayed from a forest and needs to be captured.
He has sought directions to the authorities to remove the traps and to restrain the chief wildlife warden from laying down any trap to capture the leopard.
The Yamuna biodiversity park was established in 2002 to rejuvenate the degraded landscape along the river in North Delhi in an area of about 457 acres near Wazirabad village.
On November 24, a leopard was beaten to death by villagers in Gurgaon.