Leopard sighted in Mumbai

A leopard has been sighted in Mulund, suburb of Mumbai (India), around 2 am on 21 January 2017 by residents living in the area. They immediately alerted the forest department officials who reached the spot along with their team to inspect the situation.

Residents near Redwood Society garden in Mulund West alerted the forest officials when one of them claimed to have spotted the big cat near one of their buildings. Chief conservator of Thane forest department Sunil Limaye confirmed the sighting. However, he added that there was no need to panic. “Owing to CCTV cameras, they can be spotted immediately. We have a 24-hour helpline 1926 where citizens can call and register any sightings,” said Limaye.

He said, “If a leopard has been captured on camera, it doesn’t mean the animal needs to be captured. Residents just have to be little careful and vigilant during such encounters. We have already put together a team that works towards creating awareness about living with leopards”

D. Thakare, deputy conservator of forest (Territorial) – Thane, said they received a call from the locals. “We then sent a team to pacify the residents. The society is very close to the National Park,” said Thakare, adding that it could be a seven-year-old leopard.

Pawan Sharma, founder of NGO RAWW (Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare) who was also present with the forest officials at the site, said that the area is one of the favorite trails of the leopards. “Leopards are usually spotted in this area. But there is no need to panic. The big cat has been in the National Park for decades now and it’s the societies around it which have come up recently,” said Sharma.

“There is no need for people to panic, as leopard movement happens during night and in the wee hours. All we need to do is be careful while driving or riding in the night,” said Vaibhav Waghmode, of Silver Oaks Society, Mulund. “Leopards have been frequenting this area for years now. In 2012, a leopard had taken a dog from one of the complexes but there has been no untoward incident,” said Krishna Tewari, a Mulund resident and founder of Forest and Wildlife Conservation Society. (The Times of India & The Hindustan Times)

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