Forest dept. seeks permission to capture leopard involved in attacks in Shiroli village - Hindustan Times
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Forest dept. seeks permission to capture leopard involved in attacks in Shiroli village

Apr 12, 2024 10:57 PM IST

At around 5 am on April 11, a leopard dragged the now-deceased baby girl, identified as Sanskruti Kulekar, from a temporary settlement of shepherds where she was sleeping with her family, into an open field

After the tragic incident that occurred on April 11 in which a leopard allegedly killed a one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl in Shiroli Khurd village, Junnar tehsil, the Junnar forest division has sought permission to capture the leopard involved from the state-level committee appointed as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Considering the seriousness of the situation, the Junnar forest division on Friday held a meeting with members of the state-level committee. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)
Considering the seriousness of the situation, the Junnar forest division on Friday held a meeting with members of the state-level committee. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)

At around 5 am on April 11, a leopard dragged the now-deceased baby girl, identified as Sanskruti Kulekar, from a temporary settlement of shepherds where she was sleeping with her family, into an open field. After a three-hour search, the girl’s dead body was recovered and reportedly, most of her body parts had been eaten by the big cat. While surveillance footage confirmed the leopard’s presence in a farm area 400 to 500 metres away from the spot where the girl’s body was found. The incident has angered the villagers and triggered panic amongst them, and they have demanded that the leopard be captured and that strict action be taken to mitigate the human-leopard conflict in the area.

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Considering the seriousness of the situation, the Junnar forest division on Friday held a meeting with members of the state-level committee. N R Praveen, chief conservator of forests; Amol Satpute, deputy conservator of forests, Junnar forest division; and Amit Bhise, assistant conservator of forests, Junnar forest division; along with other committee members attended the meeting.

In the meeting, the forest officer from Junnar forest division briefed the committee members about the incident and the ground conditions in Shiroli village. The officer also sought permission to capture the leopard involved in the attack. Taking a positive stance, the committee asked the Junnar forest division to submit a proposal for the same. Formal permission will be granted after analysing the proposal.

Bhise said, “The committee will grant formal permission for capturing the leopard after studying the proposal in detail. For this, the ground situation will be taken into account. In Shiroli, there have been at least five to six instances of leopard attacks on livestock in the last few days. Moreover, the recent incident of the baby girl has lent even greater significance to the issue. All these things will be taken into account for granting permission for the leopard capture and we expect to get this permission within two days.”

Meanwhile, the forest department is continuing to keep a close watch on leopard activity in the area. Due to camera traps set up by forest officials with the help of NGO partner, Wildlife SOS, the department found footage of the leopard present in a farm area around 400 to 500 metres away from the place where the girl’s body was found. The department has increased vigilance in this area, and is planning to take all necessary measures to prevent further human-animal conflict in the village. Meanwhile, a cheque of 1,000,000 has been handed over to the family of the deceased girl on April 12, Bhise said.

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