2 leopards killed on Maharashtra roads during weekend
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2 leopards killed on Maharashtra roads during weekend

According to NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India, there have been 30 leopard deaths in Maharashtra this year

mumbai Updated: Mar 26, 2018 23:12 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,leopard,Pune-Nashik highway
The two-year-old leopard killed along the Pune-Nashik highway on Sunday.(HT)

Leopard deaths in road accidents in Maharashtra continue unabated, with two sub-adult leopards killed by vehicles during the weekend.

In the first case, a two-year-old female leopard was hit by a truck while crossing Narayangaon Road on the Pune-Nashik highway around 9pm on Sunday. The animal died on the spot.

According to NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), there have been 30 leopard deaths in Maharashtra this year, of which 13 have been poached, six killed in road accidents, one severely injured, and one killed in a train accident. In the first 85 days of 2018, 149 leopards have died across India with 57 poached and 16 killed in road and train accidents.

Forest officers from Junnar said there are four leopards in this area and the number of cases along this highway is only increasing. “According to the post-mortem, the leopard sustained a severe head injury and died during impact with the vehicle. The carcass was burnt on Monday morning,” said Manisha Kale, round forest officer, Narayangaon round, Junnar, who carried out the panchnama.

She added that the Junnar forest department had decided to install signs along the highway to warn speeding vehicles about animals crossing the road. “It is an unfortunate event as this female leopard has been spotted thrice already dashing past traffic on this highway. The police are investigating the truck that rammed the big cat but there are no leads so far,” said Kale.

In the second case, a three-year-old male leopard was killed in another road accident near Devpayali village, Gondia division on early Saturday morning. “The leopard was found dead by forest officers and there is no record of which vehicle killed the animal. The big cat died on the spot, and the incident took place at least five hours before the body was found,” said Nitin Desai, director, central India, WPSI.

Leopards are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. According to the country-wide census conducted in 2015, which also happens to be the first ever leopard count, there are between 12,000 and 14,000 leopards in India.

Senior forest officers said national and state highways are being monitored so that a plan similar to the seven underpasses and overpasses planned along Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, can be implemented along them. “We have had discussions with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, for speedy implementation of these road accident mitigation mechanisms for existing and new projects as the situation is becoming worrisome,” said Sunil Limaye, additional principal chief conservator of forest, Nagpur.

First Published: Mar 26, 2018 23:12 IST