Forest dept’s Pune circle sees 15 leopard rescues in 2020, 14 deaths
PUNE At least 15 leopard rescues were conducted in 2020, while a total of 14 leopard deaths were recorded in the Pune circle, which consists of Pune, Solapur, Junnar and Bhor.
Junnar, which has a high density of leopards, recorded the highest number of deaths as well, as well as the most rescues, seven.
The Junnar division also has the Manekdoh Leopard rescue centre in its jurisdiction.
“Our staff, and volunteers from the village are trained as these operations happen routinely. We do not maintain data of the rescued animals; our staff members just show up whenever there is a call or a sighting. Barring the lockdown period, we take monthly workshops for those involved in rescue missions,” Jayaramegowda R, deputy conservator of Forests (territorial), Junnar division, Pune circle.
On Tuesday, forest department officials rescued a leopard which had injured itself by getting caught in a fence built around a sugarcane field, that was meant to prevent wild boars from entering.
“We transquilised it and took it to the rescue centre. There it will be treated and kept along with 34 others. There are animals of various ages, some are man-eaters, some are younger ones who have been recently rescued,” said Jayaramegowda.
One of the two deaths reported from Manikdoh leopard rescue centre in 2020 was that of a 22-year-old female who passed away on December 13.
Of the 14 deaths reported in Pune circle, 13 are from Junnar division, of which five died of natural causes, three in road accidents, three fell to their death in wells, and two were killed due to unknown reasons.
“It is a leopard rescue centre, but anytime any animal is in trouble, we offer rescue. It was established here in 2002 as the man-animal conflict is high in this area. Within five years, the number of sightings shot up so Wildlife SOS was involved in 2007. We have a limit of 35 animals so we cannot take in more. We keep the animal only if it is orphaned, old, or injured,” said Dr Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, working with the Forest department.
The forest department, along with Wildlife SOS, provides help even elsewhere in the circle when it comes to wildlife rescue.
The staff members from Junnar division, due to their skillset, were involved in the killing of a man-eater leopard in Karmala, Solapur in December, while they also helped rescue a deer in the Chakan area of Pune in the same month.