Leopard attacks in Mumbai: Forest department imposes indefinite ban on shooting in Film City
The department also issued guidelines to Aarey Milk Colony and Film City authorities to take precautions to avoid man-animal conflictsmumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2017 19:21 IST
Unwilling to take chances of another leopard attack inside Film City at Goregaon, the forest department extended its blanket ban on filming in the 5km radius between Bapu Dham gate and Aarey Helipad indefinitely.
Since March, four children have been mauled and one was killed in various leopard attack. Based on the images recovered from the camera traps, the forest officers said that a single leopard was responsible for all the attacks.
While the problem leopard yet to be trapped, the department issued guidelines to Aarey Milk Colony and Film City authorities to take precautions to avoid man-animal conflicts. It also requested them to install streetlights, clear garbage and ensure that stray dogs do not move in the area where the previous attacks had occurred.
“The safety of citizens is our primary concern and this is why the area remains cordoned off for filming and other activities until the leopard is trapped. We are facing problems while patrolling after 6pm, as there are no streetlights,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forest, Thane. “Even after the leopard is caught, we will allow shooting because there are other leopards in the vicinity and we need to ensure that people abide by the guidelines issued by us in Aarey and Film City.”
Since Saturday, 15 forest officers have been working in three shifts [5.30am to 12.30pm, 3.30pm to 6.30pm, and 8.30pm to 2am] to man the traps set to capture the leopard. “The cages will be shifted to other locations if the leopard is not trapped in the next 48 hours.”
The Aarey officials told HT they will install streetlights in the area and provide every facility to safeguard the lives of citizens and tribals living in the area. There are eight padas (tribal settlements) in the area with an average population of 250 people each, said forest officers.
“The danger is looming and we will help the forest officials by offering every possible facility to control these attacks,” said Nathu Rathod, chief executive officer, Aarey.
•On July 30, 13-year-old Aarey Milk Colony resident, Aniket Dileep Page, was attacked by a leopard near the Aarey pump house around 3.30pm.
•On July 22, two-year-old Vihaan Nilesh Garuda, son of Nilesh Garuda, a staff member at SGNP, was attacked and killed, probably by the same leopard, near Maroshipada, a hamlet near Film City.
•On May 29, a four-year-old boy, resident of Royal Palms, Goregaon, was attacked by a leopard.
•On March 17, a three-year-old boy was attacked by a leopard near Khadakpada, a tribal hamlet. The boy escaped with injuries on his chest and throat after local residents scared the leopard away.
•On May 21, a three-year-old boy was saved by his mother after she snatched her child away from the claws of a leopard that had pounced on him in Chafyachapada, Aarey. The boy suffered minor injuries.