Leopard kills boy, 6th death in 7 months
By Linah Baliga, TNN | Jan 28, 2013, 02.59 AM IST
MUMBAI: A 10-year-old boy, Saurabh Yadav, was mauled to death by a leopard on Saturday at Adarsh Nagar in Aarey. This is the sixth death due to a leopard attack in Mumbai in the past seven months. Saurabh had gone to attend nature's call with his friend around 7.30pm when the animal dragged him inside the forest. His friend started screaming for help. The police later recovered Saurabh's mauled body.
"The area falls under Thane forest jurisdiction. There is a cheap paid public toilet, but locals invite trouble by squatting in the open. They also strew garbage around, which attracts pigs and dogs, easy prey for leopards," said Santosh Saste, assistant conservator of forests (vigilance), Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
The other big problem is that the national park boundary is patchy and not continuous, making people living in Aarey vulnerable to big cat attacks.
Jalpesh Mehta, founder, Empower Foundation, who has been working on SGNP's man-animal conflict, said that early Saturday morning they got a call from tribals informing them that a female leopard was trapped inside Aarey Milk Colony's Mataipada.
"It was a female leopard. We were told there was a male leopard roaring in the periphery of the area. We transported the female leopard to SGNP. Our team has been tracking it through its droppings, pug marks and regular information from locals. Even as we surmised that the leopards were in search of food, we got a call that a boy was attacked," said Mehta.
Mehta said the only solution is co-existence wherein people will have to change their lifestyles by not venturing out in the forest at night for nature's call and not dumping garbage on which dogs and pigs feed, thereby attracting leopards.