Finally after three days of searching followed by a combing search operation on the wee hours of Saturday, the Thane and SGNP rescue team have confirmed that there was no leopard in the lab and it might have escaped.
The Forest Deptt carried out search/combing operation at midnight at around 2.00 to 3.30 AM (26.07.2014) in the IIT lab, where it was said that the leopard had entered. But, no leopard was found there.
"The lab has therefore been handed over to the IIT authorities," said DFO KD Thakare from Thane FD.
On late Saturday night, several more attempts were made to locate the animal or trace its movements in the workshop from the roof, windows and other locations from where an inner view was visible.
Other than that, a camera-fitted remote control car, robot with a ambulance siren was used again.
Crackers were burst. Another such machine with night vision camera was used later to check the leopard's movement. Despite all these attempts the wildcat could not be found.
The strategies and plans for a search operation began post Friday afternoon.
SGNP rescue team, Thane forest department officials, and members of our organization began the searching at 10 pm to 4 am.
According to the FD officials, "The findings in the search operations pointing the human errors were that there was alot of hiding space for the animal. The workshop was not maintained properly. There were many junk and defunct furniture and other materials which made more space for the animal to hide in. There were many locations from where the leopard could enter the workshop, which if was taken care of then the wild cat would not have entered there."
Pawan Sharma from RAWW NGO said, "People living in and around the periphery of the national park should keep certain things in mind which can lead to a distress situation like this. No matter things happen due to human errors maximum times but post conflict the blame comes on wildlife putting it into bad light."
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