Aarey locals blame faulty street lamps for man-leopard conflict
The non-functional street lamps in the Aarey Milk Colony area seem to be exposing its inhabitants to the danger of human-Leopard conflict, as two separate incidents were reported over the weekend
In the first incident that occurred on Saturday evening near Unit 5, a 28-year-old plumber Guddu Kewat, who was on his way home with his friends, was attacked by a leopard that emerged from bushes nearby. Kewat believes that the animal attacked him in self-defence as their presence must have startled him.
In the second incident, which took place in Adarsh Nagar in Aarey Colony on Sunday evening, a leopard threatened to attack a group of youngsters after they allegedly provoked the animal.
A resident from Adarsh Nagar said, “Around 6 pm, a group of ladies were coming home when they saw a leopard sitting in the bushes. They warned the youngsters to stay away from the bush. But despite their warning, the group went near the bush and provoked the animal. The agitated leopard had almost attacked the group. We see leopards on a daily basis and as per my experience it either changes its path or flees into the forest upon sensing human presence. Absence of functional streetlights at several locations is one of the major reasons for the conflict.”
Range Forest Officer Anil Todarmal of Mumbai Territorial Range of Thane Forest dept said the moment they were informed about the incident, a team rushed to the spot and interacted with locals on how such instances could be avoided. “People should not let their children venture out after dark. If at all necessary, then parents must accompany them with torchlight and a stick,” he said.
Commenting on the functionality of the streetlights, Aarey Dairy CEO Ashok Jadhav said, “To the best of my knowledge, all the street lamps in the colony are in working condition. However, if there are any that aren’t, we’ll fix them at the earliest so that locals are not inconvenienced.”