How to live safely around leopards near National Park

Leopard attacks in the recent past on the periphery of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) may have left people living in these areas bawling for blood, but wildlife activists and conservationists are urging for measures to restrict or end leopard-human conflict in the state before another life is lost.

Before another attack: The awareness campaign comes after six-year-old Sanjana Thorat (inset) was killed by a leopard at Shankar Tekdi in Mulund recently. File pic

Taking serious note of the past incidents, City Forest Initiative — a part of Forest & Wildlife Conservation Centre (FWCC), in collaboration with the Forest Department — will soon begin an awareness campaign at settlements in and on the periphery of the park as a part of a long-term strategy to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

The move to start the campaign comes close on the heels of the recent incident in which a six-year-old girl was killed and eaten by a leopard in the Shankar Tekdi area adjacent to SGNP in Mulund (West).

Leopard expert Krishna Tiwari said, “The campaign will entail interaction with communities living in and on the periphery of the forest. The do’s and don’ts with respect to living in such areas will be explained, including how to avert leopard attacks and what to do in case of such an encounter.”

The awareness program will be started in a week’s time and will kick off from Mulund (West) in the areas adjacent to SGNP, where leopards are frequently spotted.

Banners explaining the dos and don’ts will also be posted in the adivasi padas.

In order to make this program successful, the forest department and FWCC has appealed to interested wildlife lovers to pitch in as volunteers.
“We want to take this awareness campaign to each and every adivasi pada and so we request individuals who have a passion for wildlife conservation to come forward and help in the initiative,” Tiwari said.

Those interested would be given an orientation course on the subject before participating in the campaign.

Preference would be given to those with a passion for wildlife conservation, and the ability to communicate with locals. 

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