Facing heat from local politicians and residents of the tribal hamlets where leopard attacks occurred on Tuesday, the forest department laid another trap in Navapada, unit no. 19, on Wednesday afternoon.
The forest department had not planned to place a trap in Navapada but had to give in to pressure from local member of legislative assembly Ravindra Waikar, who demanded that three or four cages be laid to trap the leopards, said forest officials.
When HT contacted Waikar, he said, “I requested state forest minister Patangrao Kadam to place cages at three to four locations to trap the leopards with utmost urgency. Locals are always in danger of attacks and the forest department needs to appoint a dedicated rescue team for residents of Aarey colony.”
In a rare occurrence, there were two separate leopard attacks in Aarey colony on Tuesday.
In the first attack, which took place in the morning at Khadakpada, a leopard killed Riya Mhasi, 4, while she was answering nature’s call near her home; on the same evening, 11-year-old Sunil Bhovar was attacked by a leopard in Navapada while he was returning home with his father from their paddy field.
The forest department had already placed a trap in Khadakpada on Tuesday morning.
After Bhovar was attacked in the evening, a team of foresters and forest guards patrolled Navapada to finalise the location of the cage.
Navapada residents said that after attacking Bhovar the leopard was seen resting on a hillock.
Bhovar’s father Rajesh, 30, said that the leopard would have killed his son had he not been with him.
“Sunil and I were walking on a stone pathway through our fields when the leopard pounced out from the bushes adjacent to us. Sunil was ahead of me when the leopard jumped at him. It was clawing at him and was about to bite his thigh, but I started shouting and pulled Sunil hard enough to prevent the leopard from biting him,” said Rajesh.