After attacking man in Hadapsar, leopard caught by forest officials
PUNE A man was injured after he was attacked by a leopard on Tuesday morning in Gosavi Vasti, Hadapsar, forest officials confirmed. This is the first incident of a direct conflict between man and a wild animal in Pune city in 2021, according to forest department officials.
The man was identified as Sambhaji Athole (45), and he was out for a morning walk when the leopard attacked him. He has sustained wounds on his left side and was rushed to a nearby private hospital, where he was reported stable.
“He has injuries on his stomach and back, but he is stable now. We have caught the leopard,” said Rahul Patil, district forest officer, Pune.
“The leopard was suspected to be hiding in a nearby abandoned house or in the vegetation nearby, according to residents,” said a spokesperson of fire department.
Forest department officials were later informed and a team was moved to the spot for rescue and capture of the animal.
There have been over a dozen sightings of big cats and the Pune district forest department has rescued 12 leopards in the past two years.
The department has issued guidelines for the residents living in areas where leopards have been spotted. An awareness campaign is also part of the department’s initiative. However, there is no defined policy to channel the police, local administration, and forest department efforts if leopard sightings keep increasing.
The attack came days after the citizens residing in Undri and Mohammedwadi area had spotted a leopard. However, despite motinoring the area, the forest officials did not get any clear evidence of a big cat’s presence in the vicinity.
On October 10, a calf was reportedly killed in what was believed to be an attack by a wild animal in Mohammadwadi.
The forest officials said they could not identify whether it was killed by a leopard or a hyena.
After the calf was killed, forest range forest officer MJ Sanas appealed residents not to venture out during night.
“Mohammedwadi almost touches the main city area, so wild animals don’t come here on a regular basis,” said Sanas.
Apart from the leopard scare in Mohammedwadi, the sighting of leopard has been common in Junnar, Ambegaon belt of Pune district.
Earlier in August this year, the 11-member committee set up by the Maharashtra government to study leopard-human conflict, had re-stated the importance of co-existence with the big cats and focus on engagement with locals. The committee rejected suggestions of capturing or trans-locating leopards from the conflict zone besides suggesting a “Living with Leopards” (LwL) programme.
The man-animal conflict in Junnar forest division has claimed lives of 33 persons during past 230 years. At the same time, deaths of big cats in Maharashtra during 2020 went up to 174, 60% more than the figure registered in 2019 that saw 110 leopard deaths.