Panel yet to visit Pune’s Katraj Zoo a month after leopard escape incident - Hindustan Times
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Panel yet to visit Pune’s Katraj Zoo a month after leopard escape incident

ByGayatri Vjapeyee
Apr 06, 2024 09:26 PM IST

A month after a leopard escape incident at Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, a joint committee is yet to visit the facility, raising safety concerns.

A month after the leopard escape incident reported at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park at Katraj on March 4, a joint committee from both central and state zoo authorities is yet to visit the facility.

Sachin, an eight-year-old male leopard, escaped from its closure and couldn’t be tracked for over 12 hours. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Sachin, an eight-year-old male leopard, escaped from its closure and couldn’t be tracked for over 12 hours. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Sachin, an eight-year-old male leopard, escaped from its closure and couldn’t be tracked for over 12 hours. The zoo authority also did not inform about the incident to authorities including Pune Municipal Corporation( PMC), police and forest department.

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Over 1,000 people visit the zoo every day and was open for public when the incident took place. So, the incident triggered safety and management concerns about the administration

Later, the authority with the help of the RESQ Charitable Trust team managed to capture the leopard after 40 hours within the zoo promise.

Taking cognizance of the incident, Sanjay Shukla, member secretary, central zoo authority, ordered the chief wildlife warden to conduct a visit, and accordingly, a joint committee consisting of expert members from both central zoo authority and Maharashtra zoo authority, planned a visit to Katraj on March 11. However, for unknown reasons, the visit was postponed.

Shriram Shinde, curator, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park’s Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and member of the Indian Herpetology Society, said, “Earlier the joint committee was supposed to visit the Katraj Zoo on March 11. However, it was postponed for March 15, but till date no one has visited the facility.”

Ashok Ghorpade, head, garden department, PMC, said, “We received communication about the committee visit on March 11, but it got postponed later on. After that we have not received any communication from the committee in this regard. Since it’s a central and state committee I am unaware of the reason why the committee has not visited yet. “

When asked Sanjay Shukla, secretary, central zoo authority, said, “I had instructed the chief warden to conduct a visit to the zoo. I am not aware as to why it has not been carried out yet. We will seek more details on it.”

Despite repeated attempts by Hindustan Times, Maheep Gupta, chief, Wildlife Warden for Maharashtra and the principal chief Conservator for Forest was not available for comment.

“After the incident, the rescue centre reviewed the safety measures of its enclosures and repair work has been carried out. Along with that as a part of its routine activity, the training programme has been carried out for the centre to prevent any such mishaps in the future,” said Shinde.

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