Pune: Did villagers assault leopard that died due to 'dog attack'?
A sub adult male leopard that had entered a farm near Chalakwadi on Tuesday night to hunt sheep and was allegedly attacked by dogs may have been assaulted by villagers, his injuries indicate
Leopards are in the same bracket as tigers, with respect to the protection accorded to them. And hence, the alleged inhuman way in which a spotted cat was handled recently in Pune's Junnar taluka has raised the hackles of animal lovers and wildlife experts. A sub adult male leopard that had entered a farm near Chalakwadi on Tuesday night to hunt sheep and was allegedly attacked by dogs may have been assaulted by villagers, his injuries indicate.
Photos also show the injured animal tied to a bamboo and taken to a veterinary hospital. What's more shocking is that no forest department official present at the site objected to the manner in which the leopard was taken. A local snake rescuer and animal welfare activist who visited the spot said the leopard had tried to climb a tree that night to protect himself from the guard dogs.
"During his climb, one of the dogs injured the big cat, because of which he fell on the ground and got more injured." However, a source from the area said the villagers might have assaulted the animal. "Locals might claim dogs attacked the leopard, but I think the reason for his death is something different. This needs a thorough investigation. The forest department should have registered an offence under cruelty against the villagers," said a local animal activist.
Forest dept's version
When questioned why the leopard was tied to a bamboo and taken for treatment, Divisional Forest Officer Arjun Mhase said, "He was badly injured. Our main aim was to take him for treatment at the earliest. So, the veterinary officer reached the spot and tranquillised the animal. As no stretcher was available, we had to take him in that manner. He succumbed to his injuries during treatment."
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