Are there poachers at work inside Film City?

Jan 02, 2019, 16:20 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Carcasses of leopard and deer found caught in snares in the Film City area at Aarey has got authorities worried

Are there poachers at work inside Film City?
The leopard carcass and The carcass of a Sambar that was caught in the snare

The decomposed body of a leopard found on Monday and the body of a Sambar trapped in a metal snare found just metres away at Film City on Tuesday has set off alarm bells in the minds of authorities on whether there are poachers at work here. Shockingly, the nails of the leopard are missing.

On Tuesday, veterinary officer from SGNP Dr Sailesh Pethe and ACF Girija Desai visited the spot where the panchanama was conducted. During inspection of the area, they discovered the body of the deer in a snare. Both bodies were taken to SGNP where they were cremated post the important procedures as per NTCA guidelines.

The metal snare that was found in the area
The metal snare that was found in the area

On Tuesday afternoon, the forest department team, headed by DCF Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar, forest ranger Sameer Inamdaar and five other officials, along with volunteers from Aarey Milk Colony, who have been helping the forest department monitor leopard activities using camera traps, searched the forested patch around the set of the TV serial Karn Sangini and found two snares. Given the seriousness of the incident, forest officials have decided to carry out a major search and combing operation in the entire Film City area with the help of Maharashtra Security Force and volunteers to see if there are more snares active in the area.

Honorary Wildlife Warden of Mumbai Suburbs and Member of State Wildlife Board Mayur Kamath said, "It is a very serious incident as this is the second time in the last three years that a leopard has been found trapped in a snare inside Film City despite the fact that there are so many MSF jawans and members of Film City security patrolling the area day and night. It is impossible that no one heard both animals' distress calls as both are large mammals who produce loud, audible cries when trapped in a snare. The need of the hour is that film city takes these incidents seriously and keeps tabs on people roaming in its jurisdiction."

Deputy Conservator of Forest, Thane (Territorial) Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar said, "The leopard and Sambar might have died around 15-20 days back and someone spotted the leopard's body on Monday evening after which they informed us. This is a serious incident and appropriate action will be taken against those responsible."

Ramgaonkar also said he would be raising the issue with higher-ups in Film City. Pethe said, "The post mortem of the leopard revealed that the skeleton was intact except for 11 nails missing. A metallic wire loop was encircled on the lower abdomen. However, all internal organ systems were decomposed, hence the probable cause of death cannot be concluded based on pathoanatomical observations. Regarding the deer, its head portion was missing and a metallic wire was found encircling the front left leg. The internal organs of the deer, too, were decomposed."

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