A leopard was trapped at Aarey Colony on Sunday morning, at the same spot where a local boy, 18-year-old Vinod Hadal was attacked on January 1. But residents of the area and the forest department, which trapped the animal, said it was not the one that had pounced on Hadal.
The department had, on January 2, laid a trap cage at the spot in Maroshi Pada. At about 5.30am on Sunday morning, the four-year-old leopard walked into the cage.
She was then taken to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) by the park’s wildlife rescue team. Locals noted that the leopard involved in the attack two weeks ago was bigger than the one caught on Sunday.
This is the fourth leopard that has been trapped since November last year.
SGNP veterinary officer Vijay Pinjarkar said the leopard had been caught once before as a microchip had been inserted into its tail. In fact, according to volunteers who worked on the Mumbaikars for SGNP and Leopards project, the cat might be Bindu, the same leopard that had strayed into homes inside the Royal Palms, Goregaon (East) in June last year.
“After examining the photographs of the trapped leopard and Bindu, we noticed that the spots on the bodies are similar. We have been tracking Bindu since she was two years old,” said Rajesh Sanap, volunteer, Mumbaikars for SGNP and Leopards. “Our studies show that Aarey colony and Powai are her territory and she has never attacked any residents in the densely-populated area.”
If the leopard trapped on Sunday is indeed Bindu, then it is the fourth time she has been trapped.
“The frequent trapping and release of leopards is not a good trend as their movement is disturbed. But public pressure forces the territorial division of the forest department to set traps,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP.