There has been a scary rise in the number of incidents of human-leopard conflict at Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon (East). While fatalities have been frequently reported in the past few months, there are some who survived and lived to tell the tale. These people have now started taking more precautions, and think twice before venturing out after sunset or before dawn.
I was listening to music when the leopard pounced on me
On August 20, 18-year-old Vaibhav Tiwari had gone to pick his mother up from Durga Pada in Aarey Milk Colony when a leopard pounced on him from the bushes.
I got a call from my mother and went to pick her up from DurgaPada, since there aren’t lights in the area. I left my house around 7.15 pm. My father told me to take a torch along, but I didn’t do so. Moreover, my biggest mistake was that I was wearing earphones and was listening to music.
I had just reached a turn 200 metres away from my house, when I suddenly saw a leopard sitting in the bushes. It was barely 10 feet away from me. Seeing the big animal, I panicked and tried to run past it. But it pounced on my leg. I somehow managed to escape. Two people coming in my direction shouted at the leopard. Hearing the screams, it ran away.
Since that day, I make sure that someone is with me when I am outside the house, and I always carry a torch and stick. I’d like to point out that I have seen the leopard in the area many times, and if it is given right of way, the animal usually walks away without attacking you.
I was lucky to escape with scratches
On September 1, Guddu Kevat (28), a plumber who is a resident of Andheri (East), had gone to Unit no 15 in Aarey Milk Colony with his friends for an evening walk when he encountered the beast.
I am a regular visitor of Aarey Colony and on that day, I had gone there along with my friends for a walk. We were walking back in the evening, and on both sides of the road, there was tall grass. We didn’t realise that a leopard was sitting there. When we reached a turn in the road, it emerged from the bushes and attacked me. Soon after, it vanished into the bushes. I was very lucky to escape with just scratches. Our presence must have startled it and in self-defence, it pounced on me. Now, I make sure that whenever I go to Aarey Colony, I keep my eyes andears open. The Forest Department authorities should create awareness about the animal, and streetlights should be in working condition.
I never leave my vehicle after dark
On September 5, a full-grown leopard attacked 29-year-old Krishna, a tempo driver who transports milk from a cowshed to a milk centre, when he alighted from his vehicle.
I had gone to Aarey Milk Colony to collect milk from a cowshed. Around 6.45 pm, I left the cowshed as I had to transport the milk to the milk centre. I was waiting near Unit no 15 for my friend, who was going to accompany me. As I was getting bored sitting alone, I got down from the vehicle. Suddenly, a full-grown leopard came towards me and bore its claws into my legs. Then it went away into the foliage. Ever since that day, I have been living in fear of the animal. Now, I never get out of my tempo after dark. I am happy to have survived.
My father’s screams scared the cat away
On October 1, Sunil Rajesh Bhor, a Std IV student, was fortunate enough to have survived an attack on the same day a girl was mauled to death in Khadak Pada.
I stay with my father and aunt in Navpada in Aarey Milk Colony and I study at a school in Marol Police Camp. On October 1, I was walking back home from our rice fields. I was walking ahead of my father at a distance of 15-20 feet. A leopard that was sitting in the field ambushed me and caught hold of my leg. I couldn’t even shout. I was saved because my father was behind me. He shouted loudly and ran towards me. The leopard got scared and ran. My father quickly pulled me away. I suffered injuries on my left thigh, back and stomach. I have stopped going out of the house after the incident. I haven’t slept properly since the incident.