Adding to the rising death toll of leopards this year, another leopard was found dead near the Shilonda trail by a patrolling team at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Saturday evening. The deceased animal is said to be a sub-adult male leopard.
Park authorities are conducting an autopsy and other investigations to find out the reason behind the animal’s death. The SGNP team was on a routine patrolling job at 4 pm on Saturday, when they saw the body of the leopard around 600 metres from the entry gate of Shilonda trail.
Range Forest Officer Rajendra Pawar said, “We found the body of a male leopard in the bamboo bushes at a distance of 600 metres from the entry gate of Shilonda trail. The animal did not have any fresh injury marks.
We found a few old injury marks, but they were healed. We will be able to know the exact reason behind the death only after the autopsy report is out.” SGNP’s veterinarian Dr Sanjiv Pinjarkar said, “The animal that was found dead is a 5-6 year old male. It is too early to comment on the exact reason for his death.”
Following Saturday’s incident, patrolling inside the park has been increased. The authorities have also taken pictures of the leopard’s body.
The rosette patterns on the body of this leopard will be matched with the images of leopards that were obtained during the camera trapping exercise done by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) student Nikit Surve.
“We have clicked the pictures of its body and we will tally the same with the data of leopards’ images that we have, in order to identify the animal,” said a Forest Department official.
Previous leopard deaths this year
>> April: Three leopard cubs died of malnutrition a month after they were brought to SGNP after their mother abandoned them
>> November: A nearly three-year-old female leopard died after battling an old tail injury. She had been rescued by SGNP after she had fallen into a septic tank.