The tribal hamlets of Aarey Milk Colony will soon get new red blinker lights in order to bring a stop to leopard traffic in these human-populated areas. This is a pilot project undertaken by the Thane Forest Department (Territorial) after a series of man-leopard conflicts in the area this year. In theory, the red blinking lights will scare the leopards away. For now, 20 lamps have been distributed on a trial basis in Chafyachapada, Keltipada and Vanichapada, at houses that are closest to the forested patches that are frequented by leopards. Each lamp costs up to 1,700.
The red lights are to installed outside the houses closest to forested patches that are frequented by leopards. Pics/Sameer Markande
"The red blinker lights work on solar power. Every morning, people will have to charge the lights under the sun. The locals can install or keep the lights close to their house, on the path that is used by leopards. We are trying the system on a trial basis, and if the lights help to keep the leopards away from the houses, we will distribute more lights," said Chief Conservator of Forest Sunil Limaye.
Chandu Jadhav, a tribal from Vanichapada, said, "Leopards are very shy animals, and unless provoked, they don't attack. I have been sleeping outside my home for many years, but not even once has a leopard tried to attack me. After the recent attacks, I have started lighting a bonfire every night as a precaution, and also keep my dog indoors."
On the new lamps, he said, "The forest department volunteers have handed over the red blinker light to me. I keep it on the path outside my house. If it works, then it's a win-win situation. It's been just over a week since we started using the light; it's too early to say if it is helpful or not."
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