Leopard injures child, senior citizen

Villagers lit up a fire to chase off the big spotted cat near Chakan

In another confrontation between the spotted big cat and citizens, a leopard who showed up at Biradwadi village near the industrial town of Chakan in Rajgurunagar taluka sparked panic among the locals.

Wandering off: The leopard who showed up at Biradwadi village near the industrial town of Chakan

Aggravated by all the commotion, the big cat got aggressive and attacked two people, an elderly person and an 11-year-old boy, injuring them. Soon after, the several people that had gathered around laid siege to the area and lit a fire to scare the cat away.

Assistant Conservator of Forests (Junnar Region) Dayanand Ghadge said, “The leopard was spotted on the roof of the village house at 7 am. When the villagers drove him away, he took shelter in a stream nearby. At around 4 pm, the big cat escaped in the direction of Rohokal village.”

“It was a male leopard, three-four years old, that visited this village, thickly populated because of the industrial area in the vicinity. A horde of around 70-80 people gathered near the trench, restricting the cat’s movement. The rescue team from Chakan, Junnar and Katraj Zoo was roped in soon. The cat made his way to the forest located two kilometers from Biradvadi at around 3 pm. He may have intruded into the area in search of a prey,” Ghadge said.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (Junnar) Arvind Apte, who visited the spot of the sighting and assault, said, “Leopards have seldom been spotted in the Khed forests. As such the place is not particularly famous for being a leopard habitat.
The animal must have wandered from a far-off jungle. Barring the incident of a leopard sighting on the road some 10 days ago in a nearby area, no cases have been reported here.”

He added, “Leopards and move away from human habitat on their own if left undisturbed. If hungry, they eat sheep and goats but avoid human beings.”

Apte further said, “As a precautionary measure, two traps baited with goats have been set up at the spot for the next couple of days. He is likely to return to the spot and may be snared in the cage,” he hoped.

Ruling out allegations from irked villagers that the forest department did not have a dart gun, Apte said, “The wild bush formed a thick mesh which obstructed the vision of the rescue team. We have to figure out the weight of the wild animal before giving a shot of the tranquilizers. A rescue team from Katraj Zoo had a tranquilizing gun, but due to geographical constraints we could not inject the leopard.”

Police Inspector VV Patil of Chakan police station said, “While forest officials laid the trap for the leopard, we provided police protection and controlled the crowd.”

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