Days after a leopard entered the driveway of a bungalow on Ghodbunder Road, attacking and killing a pet dog, residents of the area, worried about their children’s safety, have demanded a barbwire fence along the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) boundaries, trimming and cutting of trees and other measures from the forest department.
“We need the forest department to demarcate between forest land and residential areas. We would like the department to tell us whether barbed wire can be installed around the periphery of our colony to stop the leopards,” said Aarti Notiyal Gupta, resident of a bungalow on Ghodbunder Road, Thane.
HT had reported on August 11 that Cocoa , a one-year-old Rottweiler owned by the Guptas, was attacked and killed by a leopard and her cub (in pic) last week.
Pravin Nare, another resident, said lack of proper lighting had made it easier for leopards to enter residential compounds. “We have approached various authorities to install lights around the complex and raise the height of the fence with barbed wires; however, they haven’t responded yet,” he said.
Nare said another problem is of trees branching out into the colony. “Leopards can jump into residential areas by climbing trees,” he added.
Officials from the forest department said various steps are being taken to make the area safer. “We are going to begin camera-trapping practices to identify the number of leopards in the area. Also, a report will be drafted by our officials,”said KP Singh, chief conservator of forest, Thane forest range.
Singh said trimming and cutting of trees is prohibited in protected areas. “But we will find out whether it can be done on the basis of their location,” he said.
Local NGOs have been helping residents. Krishna Tiwari, founder, forest and wildlife conservation society, said, “One solution is to construct 25 to 30ft tin sheds with lights on top to block the leopards.”