A fresh leopard attack on two women in Aarey Milk Colony on Saturday night has left the forest department confused, as this comes just a fortnight after they caught the big cat that was believed to be behind five recent attacks on locals.
Baiji Bandre has injuries on her left leg and hand
The attack took place between 8 and 8.30 pm in the tribal hamlet of Chafyachapada. The injured are Baiji Bandre, 48, and Ashatai Gavit, 55, who are currently undergoing treatment at the Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Centre in Jogeshwari East.
Diru Kharva, an eyewitness, told mid-day, "Around 8.30 pm, I saw a dog running towards my house, followed by Ashatai. She told me that a leopard had attacked Baijitai, who had fainted. Within seconds, a leopard also came running to pounce on the dog. I think Ashatai was standing in the way, and she got injured. I immediately started shouting and ran towards Ashatai, and the animal fled."
The locals rushed Bandre to the hospital, where she was admitted. Gavit had minor injuries, but upon the advice of the locals, she also went to the hospital an hour later. It is said that both might be discharged today.
Following the attack, the local residents are living in fear once again. They complained that the solar streetlights that were installed there three to four months ago have now stopped working. They demanded that the authorities ensure the lights are repaired or replaced to prevent further incidents.
Following the attack, the Thane Forest Department (Territorial) has gone on the alert mode. A senior forest department official said, "The man-animal conflict incident in which two women were injured at Aarey is really unfortunate, and instructions have been given to the officials concerned to increase patrolling. Our team visited the victims in the hospital and took their statements. They are investigating what led to the incident. Fortunately, the women are out of danger."
Immediately after the incident, two camera traps were installed at the location to monitor the activity of the leopard.
Leopard turns victim
In a separate incident yesterday, it was a leopard that became the victim of a hit-and-run incident on Thane-Ghodbunder road. The accident took place in the wee hours of Sunday, and by the time the forest officials got there, the animal was already dead. "The body was brought to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park for post-mortem," said an official from the national park.
Wildlife activists have long demanded the construction of underpasses below highways passing close to national parks, to allow animals to safely cross the road. In February, yet another leopard had turned into roadkill near Vasai, close to the Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary. According to the findings of a report prepared by 'Mumbaikars for SGNP', an average of two leopards die in road accidents every year.
Big cat in the bag
On September 14, mid-day had reported how the forest department and wildlife researchers caught a three-year-old male leopard that was suspected to have killed one and injured four people over the last six months. After multiple attempts over the course of 40 days, they had finally trapped the animal in Film City. After its capture, the authorities had decided to continue to monitor the area for two to three months to keep track of which leopard takes over the territory. There are currently 10 camera traps set up across Aarey and Film City.
Watch video: Dahisar river touches the danger mark near National Park
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