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Are miscreants keeping tiger in Navi Mumbai rumours alive?

Updated on: 05 November,2022 07:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

Experts say it could be a case of mistaken identity, and some people could be using this for their benefit; camera traps would stop panic, they suggest

Are miscreants keeping tiger in Navi Mumbai rumours alive?

Environmentalists say it could be a leopard. While leopards can be seen near human habitation, tigers aren’t, they added. Representation pic

Debunking claims on social media about a tiger in the hills of Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, environmentalists said that those spreading rumours have a vested interest. This could be a case of mistaken identity, as people often refer to leopards and tigers as ‘wagh’, they said.

“There is no official confirmation from either the forest department or the wildlife board about this. Those creating fake news and spreading rumours about tiger sightings have a vested interest. Some people might be using the rumour to get some privacy in the hills to have parties, as a tiger’s presence would keep the public away. Sometimes, you may see a leopard near human habitation, but certainly not tigers,” said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishthan.

He said the local residents would just want their area to be protected due to the “tiger sighting”.

Also read: Mumbai: SGNP rescue team, Aarey locals report seeing another leopard

Messages claiming a tiger’s presence started doing rounds on social media platforms a few weeks back. However, the wildlife conservation groups ruled out such a possibility, saying that the animal could have been a leopard.

It was claimed that people working at Tata Power sub-station in Kharghar were the first to spot the tiger on two different occasions. About two weeks back, another sighting was claimed near a tunnel on the road towards Chafewadi hamlet from Belapur, near the hills.

A local tribal, Kiran Pardhi, and his family were travelling in a rickshaw when they claim to have seen a tiger chasing cattle. He informed the villagers, following which a letter was sent to the Public Works Department, the forest department and the security department of CIDCO.

Kedar Gore, a conservationist and director at The Corbett Foundation, said, “This seems to be a case of mistaken identity. People often refer to tigers and leopards as ‘wagh’ and the locals could have seen a leopard probably. The presence of a tiger in Kharghar hills is highly unlikely, as the area is not connected to any tiger-bearing areas of Maharashtra. But as a matter of precaution, the area could be scanned by the forest department using camera traps or for any indirect signs to prevent panic among the local people.”

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