A four-year-old female leopard was killed in a road accident along the Pune-Nashik highway on Wednesday night.
Veterinarians said the leopard died of a severe injury to the head at the spot near Narayangaon village, Junnar in Pune district.
This is the second such death within a span of three months.
On November 2, a six-year-old male leopard died after being hit by an unidentified vehicle near Ghoti toll naka, 140km away from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Nashik highway.
“There are sugarcane fields on either side of the highway. The leopards move in large numbers from one side to the other,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, veterinarian, Manikhdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, Junnar. “By the time we reached the spot, the leopard had lost a lot of blood and could not be saved.”
He said several signboards have been placed along the highway to warn people. “Vehicles along the highway, especially during the night, need to be careful and check their speed to ensure animals don’t get hurt,” said Deshmukh.
Officials from the forest department said they were investigating the matter. “We have asked for CCTV footage from the highway control department. We will trace the vehicle and investigate why it did not stop after hitting the leopard,” said Arjun Mhase, deputy conservator of forest, Junnar.
Experts said 16 leopards had died in the last decade due to high-speed vehicles accidents across Maharashtra.