Forest dept can't tell a leopard from a cheetah

Oct 15, 2013, 01:22 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Thane forest department officials have used images of a cheetah to represent a leopard in their awareness posters about human-leopard conflict put up in Aarey Milk Colony

It seems that forest officials are having trouble over the differences between a leopard and a cheetah.

Wrong one: A banner warning residents of Aarey Milk Colony about leopards has used pictures of a cheetah. Pic/Amit Jadhav

The Thane Forest Department (TFD) has put up posters and banners in Aarey Milk Colony, listing the precautions to be taken by residents in case of a man-leopard conflict. Only the images used for representation are that of a cheetah, an animal that has been declared extinct in India since 1952.

On Monday afternoon, during a visit to the Aarey Milk Colony, the MiD DAY team found a banner displayed just before the Aarey toll plaza at Goregaon, with a picture of a cheetah on it.

Residents of the colony and the people who come for their morning walks to the colony are shocked at the error. Rahul K, a resident of Marol, who frequently uses the road, “I don’t know how the TFD can make such a huge mistake. On the one hand, the information on the banner is about the human-leopard conflict, and on the other hand, there are pictures of a cheetah. This proves how serious the TFD is about the entire issue.”

The same banners can also be seen at other locations inside the forest, including Aarey market and Adarsh Nagar, where a leopard attack had occurred last year. According to reports, the last of the cheetahs were killed in 1947, and the animal was declared extinct in 1952.

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Thane, K P Singh said, “I am myself shocked to hear that the awareness banners have pictures of cheetahs. The Mumbai territorial range of the TFD put up these banners. I will look into the matter and will make the necessary changes.” 

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