Forest department book unknown persons for death of leopard cubs
A case against unknown persons was registered by the forest department for the death of the five leopard cubs on Thursday.
“The cubs died due to burning, prima facie it doesn’t look like a deliberate crime.We have registered an offence under section 9 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1971. Further investigation is currently underway,” said Prajot Palve, range forest officer, Ambegaon.
Under, Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1971, the offence committed is in relation to any animal specified in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II relates to hunting in a sanctuary or a National Park or altering the boundaries of a sanctuary or a National Park, such offence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees.
Forest officials captured a leopard, assumed to be the cubs mother at 7.30am on Thursday. The leopard mother underwent clinical treatment to check for burns. According to the report, it had not suffered any injuries and was later released.
On Wednesday morning, five leopard cubs were charred to death at a sugarcane farm in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district. According to forest officials, the cubs were killed after a farmer burnt trash suspecting the presence of a snake in it.
Decreasing forest area has forced leopards to live in close proximity to human beings, sugarcane farms are a popular spot. While leopards usually deliver their cubs in the sugarcane field, once grown up the cubs leave the farm with their mother. However, if sugarcane harvesting begins before the animals leave the premises, possibility of death looms dark for the cubs, informed a forest official. Farmers fear entering sugarcane fields at due, due to the possibility of a leopard attack.According to the forest department, there have been 34 incidents of leopard attacks in 2015-16, 20 incidents were reported in 2016-17,69 in 2017-18 and 147 incidents in 2018-19.