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After leopard sighting in Mumbai, forest dept sets up rescue cage in Marol

Residents said leopard sightings near Aarey Milk Colony proves that the area needs protection from construction activities

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2018 11:38 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
A forest van parked at the location where Marol residents had spotted the leopard earlier this week. (HT photo )

Forest officials installed a cage in Marol, Andheri, to rescue a leopard that was spotted earlier this week along Military Road. Officials said some of the residents sought their help after spotting the leopard at Halimabai Chawl near Marol Nand Dham Udhyog Cooperative Society.

“The cage will be activated on Wednesday night. Residents showed us pug marks and said the area where the animal was spotted is amidst several settlements (bastis). However, no untoward incident has been reported so far and there is no need to panic. The cage has only been setup as a precautionary measure,” said Santosh Kank, range forest officer, Mumbai.

Residents said there was no panic in the area. “We have spotted leopards in this area regularly. In this case, the leopard seems to have lost its way from Aarey Colony, which is not far from Marol,” said Surekha Joshi, a resident of Halimabai Chawl.

Other residents said leopard sightings near Aarey Milk Colony proves that the area needs protection from construction activities. “Encroaching on leopards’ habitat through various infra projects needs to stop,” said Godfrey Pimenta, a resident of Marol.

Forty-one leopards have been documented in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), of which at least four have been recorded from Aarey Milk Colony. Forest department has conducted four successful leopard rescue operations across Mumbai region in the past six months after being informed about leopards entering housing societies in Andheri, Mulund and Uhasnagar.

“It’s been while since the leopard was last spotted, so we are unsure whether the animal is still in the area. To avoid panic reaction or man-animal conflict, the department has taken precautionary measures,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forest, Thane forest range.

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 00:12 IST