The camera traps installed at various spots of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) at Borivli to monitor the movement of the leopards have found the spotted cat increasingly straying to the periphery of the park, according to the initial findings of a study.
“In the last two months, camera traps have captured at least five adult leopards. The reason these animals are straying to the fringes of the park is because of the garbage thrown which attracts dogs,” said Vidya Athreya, wildlife biologist, about the first quarterly report.
The last time a leopard killed a human at SGNP was in 2006. “It is heartening to know that while leopards are moving all over the place, they are not attacking humans,” added Athreya.
In September, the forest department launched a year long project 'Mumbaikars for SGNP' to understand the leopard’s biology and mitigate the human-animal con?ict in and around the park. The project is in collaboration with the Centre for Wildlife Studies in Bangalore.
“All this time, there was anecdotal evidence that the leopards was straying at the periphery. But now, for the first time, a scientific study has established what we have been thinking all along,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP. “The next step would be to sensitise those living around the park on ways to deal with the animal.”
A highly territorial animal, Athreya said a leopard could also stray into a human settlement if it is new to the place. This is especially true if it has been trapped and displaced from its familiar surrounding by releasing it into the park.