Mumbai: Leopards in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park are creating much trouble for the residents of the areas surrounding the park. A female leopard was recently caught when it ventured out from the boundaries of the Park. It hurt itself badly while trying to get out of the cage.
“It was caught by the Thabe division, they could have avoided it. They could have found out about the movements of the leopard first, whether it was attacking humans or not,” says Chief Conservator of Forests, S K Khetarpal.
The leopard-human conflict in the areas surrounding the national park is nothing new. At least 23 leopards were captured in 2004, when incidents of residents being attacked were reported in Mumbai.
A lot of noises were made about building a wall around the park along with other safety measures that time.
It’s been two years and things have not changed...
A thick deciduous forest flanked by a huge metropolitan city, the conflict is inevitable. But the question is: are the authorities dealing with it in the right way?
The Bombay High Court had ordered the government to remove all the encroachments on the boundary of the National Park. It has set a deadline for the end of this year for the same, but despite all orders, the slums remain and continue to grow.
“A lot of money exchanged hands. The builder paid off many people, and he is stalling the rehabilitation process now,” says executive, Conservation Action Trust, Debi Goenka.
In this chaos, it’s the wild animals living inside the city that are paying a dear price.
“This species which was here before man, is being harmed. How can you destroy what you did not create? It’s unethical,” says Joint Director, Bombay Natural History Society, Prashant Mahajan.
With the authorities choosing to look the other way when wild animals are captured cruelly without provocation, it is perhaps time for the citizens of Mumbai to save a valuable part of their environment.