Forest dept sets trap, catches leopard spotted in Mumbai’s Marol
Officials set up a trap cage in an abandoned industrial unit on Military Road with chickens as bait and caught the animal within hoursmumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2018 09:11 IST
Hours after the forest department put a trap cage in place at Marol, Andheri (east), following reports that a leopard had been spotted in the locality, the animal was trapped early on Thursday.
Forest officials said the leopard is full-grown male, between four and five years old. “Around 3am, the leopard entered the cage, which we had set up in an abandoned industrial unit on Military Road. We had left chickens as bait, and once the leopard entered the cage, it was trapped,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forest, Thane forest range, who led the operation along with 25 other forest officers and staff from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). “Based on veterinary examination, we will decide when to release the animal.”
The leopard seems to be a healthy specimen, said Dr Shailesh Pethe, veterinarian, SGNP. “We have kept him in isolation and are in the process of carrying out various medical tests. However, he is eating well and has no health issues.”
Officials said locals had spotted the leopard at Halimabai Chawl near Marol Nand Dham Udhyog society on Sunday and had called up the forest department several times to set a trap and capture it. It strayed into Marol from the nearby Aarey Colony.
“The forest staff has made tremendous effort, carefully assessing the situation and carrying out a smooth rescue operation. They have been at the site since Sunday,” said Mayur Kamat, wildlife warden, Mumbai.
Residents welcomed the efforts of the forest department, but said it just shows how important it is to protect Aarey Colony from development. “Such incidents clearly indicate that the big cat’s habitat is being encroached upon, forcing them to come closer to human habitations. Those developing infrastructure projects in Aarey need to realise this,” said Marol resident Godfrey Pimenta.
Census has confirmed 41 leopards in and around SGNP, with at least four animals documented in Aarey Colony. Over the past six months, the forest department has conducted four successful leopard rescue operations in Mumbai, in Andheri, Mulund, and Ulhasnagar.