The wildlife department has successfully conducted four leopard rescue operations in the last five months. The big cats that strayed into civilian areas were rescued and released into the wild.
These operations are important as in November 24, last year, a two-and half-year-old leopard was beaten to death at Mandawar in Sohna area in the presence of staff from wildlife department officials and the police.
After the first incident, four more cases — December 28 in Malaka, February 16 in Palwal, March 17 in Sohna at a village near Mandawar and the latest in Durga Colony of Sohna — have been reported.
In all these cases, the leopards were released into the Aravali forest after they were examined by the vets and were cleared to be returned to their natural habitat, officials of the wildlife department said.
“After the November 24 incident, we have been taking active steps to avoid any untoward incidents,” said Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer, wildlife, Gurgaon.
The wildlife officials were given training to handle the tranquilizer and deal with the mob when confronted with the kind of situation as was seen on November 24.
The Mandawar incident stands out as one where everything that could go wrong did. The tranquilizer arrived late and it was alleged that the forest officials and policemen at the spot made no effort to control and disperse the mob that went after the big cat.
However, the officials took lessons from that incident and exercised due caution while conducting all subsequent operations. The same was key to the leopards being rescued.
A three-and-a-half-year-old male leopard that strayed into mustard fields near Malaka village of Tauru, 40 km from Gurgaon, on December 28, was rescued by a team of forest and police officers and released into the wild the day after.
After being rescued, the leopard was sent to a veterinary hospital in Rohtak district where the doctors took care of it.
Similarly, on February 16, a male leopard was rescued by the wildlife department from Krishna Colony in Palwal after a five-hour operation. Again, on March 17, a leopard was rescued from a village near Mandar in Sohna.
Even after these successful stories, the wildlife department still believes that it needs more tranquilizer guns, darts and staff to deal with these cases. “A proposal to augment the number of tranquilizer guns and vehicles has been sent to the state government. We are also waiting for a nod regarding another proposal to collar leopards with a view to monitoring their movement and tracing their habitat,” Kaushik said.