Following three leopard attacks that claimed two lives and injured one person this month, a female leopard aged four years walked into a trap set by the forest department in Adarsh Nagar, Aarey Colony, Goregaon (east) around 6am on Monday morning.
According to officials of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the leopard has been before as a chip was already found it its tail during a medical check up. The forest department had set two traps in Adarsh Nagar after a leopard had killed 12-year old Prakash Salunkhe on the evening of October 17.
Salunkhe, a student of Aarey Municipal School was walking back home through thick bushes when the leopard killed him. Before Salunkhe’s death four-year old Riya Mhasi was also killed by a leopard while she was squatting near her home in Khadakpada, Aarey Colony.
According to forest officials the female leopard might be the one responsible for both the fatal attacks this month, though this is yet to be established conclusively. “We had been monitoring the area after the attacks and had sighted a female leopard. We had made a mould of the pugmarks found and also trap cameras had taken photos. The pugmarks and photos can be used for verifying if it is the same leopard seen in the area,” said KP Singh, chief conservator of forests (Thane).
“It is an adult female leopard approximately 4.5 years old and after the initial medical check up it seems healthy,” added Singh. The forest department has decided to keep the leopard under observation for a few days and may release the animal outside Mumbai. “Since there is a good chance this leopard might be the one behind the fatal attacks we may eventually release it far away from the city,” said Anwar Ahmed, deputy conservator of forest, Thane.
Past instances of leopard trappings:
A female leopard, Bindu, whose core territory is Aarey Colony was trapped for the fourth time on January 14. Bindu is yet to be released from a trap cage that measures not more than 7ft x 7ft
A female leopard was captured on January 26, was trapped in a bait cage setup following the attack on Varte
On May 16, a female leopard was trapped inside the abandoned Khatau mill compound in Borivali (east). Earlier, the leopard had entered the neighbouring Ekta Meadows society a couple of times
On September 24, a female leopard was trapped in Kolshet, Thane (west) after she seen living in Kolshet Air Force Station for over two months