Hunt for killer leopard: Forest department sets up 100-person team to capture leopard alive
While the officials have permission to shoot if things get out of hand, they are making every attempt to pull off a live capture of the leopard that has killed six in Chalisgaon tehsil
While the chief wildlife warden of the state has granted permission to shoot the leopard responsible for killing six people in Chalisgaon tehsil, the forest department is till putting in all its efforts to try and capture the big cat alive. At least 100 forest staffers have been deployed to tranquillise and trap the animal, along with 10 shooters from the local police, forest department and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF). An official who is a part of the operation said, "Even though the Chief Wildlife Warden has given permission to shoot the leopard at sight, we are taking all efforts to tranquilise the animal and catch it alive. There are multiple teams with tranquilising experts posted at different locations, and we also have shooters out on field."
The forest department has also roped in shooters from the police to help in the search for the leopard
Experts on the job
The authorities have also roped in experts like Dr Ajay Deshmukh from Wildlife SOS, ACF Sunil Wadekar from Nashik to catch the leopard. Dr Deshmukh has been working with the forest department in Junnar to rescue many leopards. He is also known for his work in reuniting leopards with their cubs found in sugarcane fields. Wadekar also has vast experience in rescuing and trapping leopards in man-animal conflicts. Rajesh Thombare, honorary wildlife warden of Jalgaon, said, "In the last four months, man-animal conflict has resulted in the death of six people and injured others in Chalisgaon. In order to prevent any further incidents, the forest department is taking the help of experts to trap the leopard. Multiple teams have been made and the search operation is in progress."
He added that camera traps had also been activated in a 10-15 sq km range to track the leopard. The main challenge of the operation comes from the difficult landscape, which features a river, sugarcane fields and other places where the leopard can easily hide.
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