Cops in­ten­sify pa­trolling at Kar­nala af­ter leop­ard sight­ing, alert res­i­dents

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

The leop­ard’s im­age was cap­tured on a trap cam­era eat­ing a car­cass of a cat­tle last month.

Af­ter a leop­ard was sighted at the Kar­nala bird sanc­tu­ary, around 15 kms from Pan­vel, on March 22, the po­lice have in­creased pa­trolling in the area. For 15 years, there had been no sight­ing of a leop­ard in the sanc­tu­ary.

The adult wild an­i­mal was cap­tured on trap cam­era in­stalled in the sanc­tu­ary eat­ing a cat­tle car­cass in Ran­sai area of the sanc­tu­ary. The cam­eras were set up af­ter lo­cals told for­est of­fi­cials of a car­cass of a freshly hunted an­i­mal that they had come across.

New Pan­vel po­lice sta­tion and the for­est de­part­ment are on their toes and have asked the lo­cal res­i­dents to be care­ful.

Kar­nala di­vi­sion range for­est of­fi­cer SK Pawar said, “The Uran-Pan­vel re­gion has huge stretches of mangroves pro­vid­ing cover for leop­ards. The leop­ard seen in Kar­nala was found in the pro­tected area for the an­i­mal.”

“To en­sure safety of those liv­ing in the nearby vil­lages, es­pe­cially res­i­dents of Ran­sai, Kalhe, Na­machipada and Sai, we have formed com­mit­tees and are in con­stant touch with them. We are hold­ing meet­ings with the lo­cals and cre­at­ing aware­ness amongst them,” Pawar said.

Kar­nala sees a lot of trekkers and bird lovers.

New Pan­vel po­lice sta­tion se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor Maloji Shinde said, “We are ap­peal­ing to tourists who come to the sanc­tu­ary to be alert and take nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions.”

He added, “There are also a lot of trekkers in the re­gion. They too have been asked to be cau­tious. The vil­lagers and oth­ers have been asked to look for signs of the pres­ence of the an­i­mal. These in­clude pug marks and an­i­mal car­casses on tree tops.”

The po­lice have warned peo­ple against ven­tur­ing out in the night alone.

“The vil­lagers have been told that wild an­i­mals do not at­tack un­less pro­voked and hence they should not take any such ac­tion to harm the leop­ard. The wild an­i­mal could be at­tracted to poul­try or goats that the vil­lagers keep and so they have been asked to take ad­e­quate pre­cau­tions.”

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