Pugmarks of a female leopard and her two cubs have been found by the wildlife department in Mangar, a village 45km from New Delhi in the Aravalis hills, after local residents reported sighting of the trio at least twice on Tuesday (28 March 2017). The department has asked officials to immediately make drinking water arrangements in the forest area for the wild animals.
This is not an isolated incident. In the first three months of 2017 numerous sightings have been reported by the people living in villages situated in the Shivalik region of the state of Haryana, which has a common border on three sides of Delhi, national capital of India. Earlier sightings and their dates have been given below.
Residents claimed they spotted the same female leopard at least thrice in this month alone. “The same female leopard was seen on the night of March 13, 25 and 27 in our village. It seems the big cat was either in search of food or water. It is very worrying if the leopard is not getting water at the beginning of summer,” said Sunil Harsana, a resident of Mangar.
Harsana, who has been campaigning for the protection of Mangar forests, said the leopard sightings confirm thriving wildlife in the area. “Sightings of leopards in this area indicate flourishing wildlife. There is an urgent need to take measures to protect the rich flora and fauna of Mangar,” he said.
Another resident said more patrolling is required. “We need more patrolling as leopard sightings have increased in the area. There are a few cattle owners in Mandawar and Bandhwari, who claimed to have lost cattle,” he said.
Taking immediate action, Conservator of forests (Gurgaon circle) MD Sinha wrote a letter to the deputy conservator of forests (Faridabad and Gurgaon) and the divisional wildlife officer (Gurgaon) to fill up the dry water holes built by the department in the Aravalis.
“It appears that the leopard has littered and may be in search of water along with her cubs. It (is), therefore, necessary that the water holes built in the area are filled regularly, so that the wildlife doesn’t venture out of the forest area.
Activists, on the other hand, blamed the department for not filling up water holes in time. “The department is already very late in filling up the dry water holes. These water holes should have been filled up during the winter season. It shows laxity on part of wildlife officials. Making water holes is not going to serve the purpose. There is a need for regular maintenance and regular filling up of the water holes,” said Amit Chaudhery from People For Animals (PFA) Gurgaon, an animal welfare organisation.
Leopard sightings near Delhi in first 3 months of 2017
March 21 & 22 — Panic gripped residents of Mandawar village in Gurugram (Gurgaon) district of Haryana as leopard sighting reports surfaced on March 21 night as well as March 22 morning. This is the same village where a leopard was thrashed to death in November 2016.
February 16 — Forest department rescued a three-and-a-half-year-old male leopard from Palwal (Haryana) town. It was later released in Shivalik hills.
January 22 — A male and a female leopard were spotted on the same day in Bandhwari, a village in the district of Gurugram.
January 14 — Some residents staying near Gurugram-Faridabad road spotted a leopard late night. (Times of India)