A leopard that was found dead at the Yeoor range of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park on April 16, was poisoned, tests have revealed. Eight nails from the front paws were missing, leading to suspicion over its death.
A dead dog was found next to the leopard, which forest officials had sent for analysis to the lab. Satish Phale, assistant conservator of forests, said that the forensic report, which is with the department, revealed that the leopard died because of the poison that had entered its body from the flesh of the dog it had eaten on the day it died.
Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forests, said, “We have detained two locals in the case.” However, both suspects were later released as forest officials did not find anything suspicious on them.
“The same type of poison was found in the dog meat and in the leopard’s stomach. The report revealed that the poison was first given to the dog and then entered the leopard’s stomach when it killed the dog,” said a forest official, on condition of anonymity.
Krishna Tiwari, a wildlife expert, said, “It is difficult to say, but if it was poaching, then all nails would have being removed. Leopards hunt locals’ animals, because of which they are sometimes poisoned to end the nuisance. This must be one such case.”