Man kills leopard as ‘revenge’ for eating livestock, arrested in Thane
A man from Chowk village in Raigad has been arrested for killing a leopard which he claims was responsible for attacking and eating his livestock and cattle. The accused, Tukaram Veer, 58, was taken into custody by the Thane crime branch unit 3 on Saturday.
On Thursday, the Thane crime branch arrested two security guards, Vishal Laxman Dhanraj,30, and Sachin Janardan Mhatre,33, who had travelled to Kalyan to sell a leopard skin and a tiger skin. During the investigation it was ascertained that the tiger skin was fake. The leopard skin was real and estimated to be valued at Rs10 lakh.
Saju Jhon, senior police inspector from the Thane crime branch unit 3 said, “After we arrested the security guards we interrogated them and found that a farmer had killed the leopard. We then sent a team to Chowk village and after proper analysis, we caught Veer.”
During the investigation, Veer told police that he was fed up of the leopard attacking his livestock. He said that over the past year the wild cat had eaten 30 goats and one cow from his cattle shelter.
“Veer had a country-made rifle with he used to shoot the leopard, a couple of months back. After he killed the animal, he planned to sell its skin and other parts. He took the help of the security guards in the hopes of hiding his actions from the other villagers,” Jhon added.
The police are now in the process of recovering the country-made rifle and other parts of the leopard which they suspect Veer is still hiding in his house or at a relative’s place. Given that the man was in possession of a firearm, authorities suspect that he may have been more seriously involved in poaching.
“This is a very serious issue. Due to mass urbanisation in and around the districts of Thane, Pune, Mumbai Raigad and Dahanu, the leopards are left with no space for natural food and territory. They started eating goats and other domestic animals. The state government should take major steps to avoid future conflict,” said Nilesh Bhanage - Founder of Plant and Animal Welfare Society (Paws).
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