Leopard found dead in Mumbai, was it another case of suspected roadkill?
Even as forest officials await post-mortem report, experts say injuries on dead body of leopard indicative of impact with a vehicle
In a yet another incident of suspected roadkill, the dead body of an adult male leopard was found inside the bushes near Mandvi close to Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Vasai on Thursday. As per the data gathered by Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) authorities along with 'Mumbaikars for SGNP' members, 19 leopards have died in the last 10 years in road accidents on the busy Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, Thane-Ghodbunder Road and Aarey Milk Colony Road. This death takes the number to 20.
A tense night
On Wednesday around 6 pm, the Thane Forest Department (territorial) received a call from the Mandvi Range that a leopard, appearing to be injured or ill, was seen resting inside the bushes close to the human settlements. The news spread like wildfire, and soon, a huge crowd gathered to see the animal. Deputy Conservator of Forests Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar asked the Leopard Rescue Team of Thane FD to rush to the spot with Assistant Conservator of Forests Girija Desai, wildlife biologist Nikit Surve, and Honorary Wildlife Warden of Thane Pawan Sharma. With help from the police, they controlled the crowd to give space to the animal to leave.
Ramgaonkar said, "We did not want to take any chances at night; hence, we had stationed our staff throughout the area. Desai and our leopard rescue team along with the SGNP veterinary officer and team reached the spot early the next day and discovered the animal's dead body a few metres away from the spot he had been the previous night. The doctors who conducted the post-mortem said that it appeared the animal had been hit by a vehicle. We hadn't tried to tranquillise him at night as he'd been already injured, and the tranquillier could have caused his death." The area where the carcass was found is metres away from the Vasai-Vajreshwari Road near the sanctuary.
Dr Shailesh Pethe said, "The male leopard was aged five to six years. His post-mortem was carried out in SGNP by a team of veterinary pathologists from Bombay Veterinary College. Results are awaited. Prima facie, the post-mortem lesions are suggestive of strong mechanical impact resulting in profuse bleeding in musculature and abdominal cavity, causing hypovolemic shock and death. The mechanical impact is most likely due to a vehicle."
No. of leopards killed in road accidents in that area in the last 10 years
Did you know?
A study conducted under the 'Mumbaikars for SGNP' initiative of SGNP in 2012 revealed that 40 leopards have died in road accidents along the periphery of SGNP between 1994 and 2011. A majority of the accidents took place on the stretch between Ghodbunder village and Vasai, near Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. Last year, authorities had said they will be taking up the issue of an underpass, but nothing has happened yet.
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