A village near Karad in Maharashtra’s Satara district lost its power supply on Wednesday night after a leopardess fell from a tree on high tension cables and was electrocuted.
Forest officers took help from Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) to remove the 7-year-old big cat’s carcass on Thursday.
“We were informed around 1pm on Thursday by villagers from Vanwas Machi village, four kilometres away from Karad that an animal was spotted hanging from a 30-metre high tension wire,” said VM Mule, assistant conservator of forest, Satara.
“We rushed to the site to find out that it was a leopard but could not pull the body down from fear of being electrocuted ourselves.”
Mule said that the leopard was sitting on top of a tall tree when it slipped and fell on the power lines. “When the carcass was brought down with the help of wire managers from MSEDCL, the left side of the leopard’s mouth, stomach and claws were found burnt,” he said, adding that the carcass was finally burnt in the evening.
Locals from the village said that on Wednesday night, they observed fluctuation in the power supply. “We first thought that it was due incessant rainfall but later there was power outage and loud growling noise around 11.30pm,” said Sunil Bhende, a farmer from Vanwas Machi village. “Officials from MSEDCL said that our electricity would be restored by Friday.”
Forest officers said that the nearby areas of the village had four other leopards that frequented the 20 sq kilometre area, mostly consisting of sugarcane fields, in search of dogs that make up their prey base.
“The leopard that died left behind two cubs. We have told villagers to inform us immediately if they are spotted,” said Baba Shinde, range forest officer, Satara.
According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), 38 leopards had died in Maharashtra in 2015. While most of them died of natural causes, 11 were killed after being hit by trains or vehicles and six were electrocuted.