Frequent leopard sightings in the area over the past week have kept residents on tenterhooks.
Deepan Bapna, a resident of the society, said, “I have been staying in the society for the last four years, but for the last few months, there has been a rise in leopard sightings. On Monday, past midnight at around 12.30 am, I saw a leopard climbing the wall of our compound, which is adjacent to the mill.
We are not at all against the animal, but it is our request that the forest department take at least some measures so that man-animal conflict can be avoided. There are around 1,500 people living in our society, of which 150-200 are small kids. We don’t want them to be attacked, and so we have stopped sending our children out.” The leopard was seen roaming about in the mill premises.
Forest department teams from Thane and SGNP have already visited the area and there are plans for an awareness programme soon. The Mulund-based NGO RAW, which helps the forest department spread awareness about man-animal conflict, also visited the location and its workers are in constant touch with people residing in the area.
Wildlife experts feel that there is little to be done apart from creating awareness and taking precautions for safety. “People staying in societies adjacent to SGNP should understand that wild animals don’t understand boundaries, and so when societies are located close to the forest, beasts will keep visiting.
The only way to reduce the chance of man-animal conflict is by taking precautions. People should make sure that the surroundings are clean, so that leopards don’t get attracted to dogs which feed at garbage bins and vats.”