Late last night, the male wildcat walked right into trap that the state forest department had set up and had been monitoring tirelessly for over a month; they let out a whoop when they discovered the wildcat has been captured
Trapped leopard. Pic/ Kunal Chaudhuri
A little after midnight on Thursday, the Film City area of Aarey Colony erupted into thunderous roars as the forest department's most-wanted leopard finally walked into a trap that had been set up for him 40 days ago.
The first trap had been set up on July 27 atFilmCityin the hope of trapping the ferocious leopard suspected to have killed a three-year-old boy and injured four others. Since then the forest department and the team of researchers and volunteers have been tirelessly camera trapping and monitoring leopard activity in the area, working in shifts through the night.
The team, including the honorary wildlife warden of Mumbai suburbs Mayur Kamath and a team of researchers, including Rajesh Sanap, Nikit Surve from the Wildlife Conservation Society – India, volunteers Kunal Chaudhari, Hitendra Panchkale, Kishor Patre, Kaushal Dubey, Prabhu Swami, Imran Udat and Satish Lot have been closely tracking the movement of the suspected animal for more than two months before setting up the trap. The forest department was also taking all possible measures to prevent any more attacks by conducting round-the-clock night patrolling.
The team that caught the leopard
Three-year-old male leopard
Last night, the control room team at Aarey was tipped off about some activity in theFilmCityarea. When they got there, they found the area's stray dogs barking incessantly in the direction of the cage. As they approached the trap, they heard the leopard's snarls and roars as it tried to break free. The team set about verifying whether the animal was indeed the leopard they were looking for, based on its markings. They let out a whoop when they discovered it was the ferocious wildcat that had been giving them sleepless nights.The leopard in the trap. Pic/ Kunal Chaudhur
Taken to SGNP
The forest department was immediately informed around 1 am following which Deputy Conservator of Forest Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar immediately asked Range Forest Officer Santosh Kank and the Leopard Rescue Team to reach the spot. Around 2.15 am, the team safely shifted the three-year-old, full-grown male leopard to the rescue truck and the vehicle left for theSanjayGandhiNational Parkleopard rescue centre around 3:30 am, where the veterinary officer there conducted a medical examination of the animal.
Researchers monitor leopard activity at Aarey by night in the control room. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar
Honorary wildlife warden of Mumbai western region Mayur Kamath said, "We are happy that the suspected leopard has been trapped. The process was time-consuming, but our patience finally paid off. The result is the outcome of the dedication shown by our team members and also the Thane Forest Department territorial team which has been taking preventive measures by conducting night patrolling and also creating awareness among the residents." Udat added, "This mission would not have been a success without the support of the Chief Conservator of Forests, Thane (Territorial), Sunil Limaye."
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