Mumbai: Leopard drops dead at SGNP, but no one knows why

Updated: May 30, 2017, 11:58 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Poaching ruled out, as big cat's body was found fully intact; Sanjay Gandhi National Park authorities have sent samples from carcass for forensic testing to ascertain cause of death

Except for a few nails and a part of the tail, all the other body parts of the leopard were found intact. Authorities suspect rats ate away at the nails and tail.
Except for a few nails and a part of the tail, all the other body parts of the leopard were found intact. Authorities suspect rats ate away at the nails and tail.

It has been close to three weeks since a leopard died in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and a week since the carcass was found, but authorities still haven't been able to ascertain the cause of death. Samples from the carcass have now been sent to the forensic department for further investigation.

Confirming the same, assistant conservator of forest (ACF) DJ Singh from SGNP said, "In the last week, a carcass of a full-grown leopard was found in a decomposed manner at the Malad trail, inside the core forest area of SGNP. But the possibility of poaching has been ruled out, as all the body parts of the animal were intact, except for a couple of nails. We are investigating to find the exact reason behind the death."

Also read: Pregnant leopardess dies after falling in open well in Aurangabad

The body was spotted in a rocky patch on the trail in the core of the forest that goes towards Malad, by a volunteer from the team of researchers who are doing the camera trapping exercise for the leopard project inside the park.

Sent for post mortem
Immediately after, Singh and SGNP director Anwar Ahmed were informed about it, following which, veterinary officer Shailesh Pethe reached the spot with his team. The body was taken in a vehicle for a post mortem.

Also read - Photos: 17-year-old female leopard Radha dies at Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Speaking to mid-day Shailesh Deore, SGNP's veterinary officer said, "The post mortem of the leopard was conducted on May 22 and its findings revealed a completely decomposed carcass. Gross as well as microscopic examination of visceral organs was not possible; hence, the cause of death could not be ascertained. We have also collected the samples which will be sent for forensic examination." It is said that the full-grown leopard might have died more than two weeks from the day the carcass was found.

Also read - Murbad: Man-eater leopard shot dead by Thane cops

Rat-a-tat
Regarding the two missing nails, the authorities feel that rats may have taken them away while the carcass was decomposing. A very small part of the tail was also found near the location where the body was recovered, and authorities feel that this might also be the work of rats.

3 Weeks since the leopard died

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