Mumbai: No trap for leopard spotted at IIT-Powai
The forest department will instead hold night patrols and awareness sessions with students and locals to educate them about dos and don’ts when they spot a leopard
The leopard was captured on CCTV installed outside a laboratory
While news of a decision being taken to trap a leopard spotted on the IIT Powai campus has been doing the rounds, an official with the Thane Forest Department told mid-day that they have not taken any such decision yet. However, they are going to conduct night patrolling in the area and hold sessions to create awareness among the students about the dos and don’ts when they spot a leopard, in order to avoid man-animal conflicts.
Leopards are shy
On Thursday, IIT-Powai also sent a letter to Thane FD regarding the sighting.
The leopard was spotted in IIT-Powai on November 8 and captured on a CCTV installed outside a laboratory. Confirming the same, Range Forest Officer of Mumbai SS Kank said, “We have received a letter from IIT-Powai informing about the leopard sightings in the area and our team will be doing night patrolling there along with awareness sessions, where we would tell them about the dos and don’ts. Our request to the students and people who move in the campus late at night is that they should not panic at all because leopards are shy animals and, unless provoked, won’t harm.”
Violation to set up cages
Certain news reports stated that permission has been received to trap the leopard roaming in IIT-Powai. However, senior officials said that the information was misleading.
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“As IIT-Powai is adjacent to Aarey colony and SGNP, the sighting of a leopard is nothing new. Just because the sighting has taken place, we can’t trap the animal. Random capturing of animal by setting up trap cages is a violation of the Human Leopard Conflict Management guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest,” said Santosh Saste, Divisional Forest Officer.
In July 2014, a leopard entered a laboratory in IIT-Powai. The lab assistant who had gone to open the lab first saw the leopard hiding behind a generator. Immediately, an FD team arrived with a trap cage to catch the leopard. However, even after three days, the leopard did not enter the cage. Later, a combing operation was launched, after which FD officials came to the conclusion that the leopard might have escaped from an opening in the lab.
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