27
Dec

LEOPARD TRAPPED IN AAREY SENT BACK INTO THE WILD WITH MICROCHIP TRACKER

Times of India

Link to news articles

HIGHLIGHTS – 
  • A leopard that strayed into a Goregaon colony was released into Borivli habitat after medical check-up
  • A microchip was inserted to track the beast’s future movements
  • Wildlife activists raised voice against trapping of leopards
MUMBAI: Three days after a male leopard was trapped by forest authorities in Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon, it was released back into the natural habitat on Sunday.

Chief conservator of forests (Thane), KP Singh, said that the leopard had been released after a doctor declared it fit to be released into the wild in its home range. The leopard was trapped at Mathai Pada on Friday after local residents complained of repeated sightings.

The leopard was moved to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli, where it underwent a medical check-up. Also, a microchip was inserted to help officials track the big cat’s future movements.

The trapping has, however, drawn flak from animal activists. “The mere sighting of a leopard should not be the reason for trapping the animal,” said Stalin D, director of Project Vanashakti, an NGO. “There was no conflict or harm caused. The trap was absolutely uncalled for. Animals have their home range in and around the area.”

 Wildlife activists and experts suggested that frequent trapping of leopards be avoided and the stress should be on healthy human-animal coexistence.
Activist Debi Goenka of Conservation Action Trust (CAT) said, “Wildlife guidelines of the Union ministry of environment and forests suggest that unless a predator has become a menace and dangerous, it should be left alone and not captured. Recent traps of leopards in Aarey Colony and Powai were not required.”
Goenka said that once a trapped leopard is released into a core forest area, it is likely to return to the buffer areas in human habitats, after being attracted to the open garbage and stray dogs around it.
Pawan Sharma of Resqink Association of Wildlife Welfare said that as per the Wildlife Protection Act, a leopard can be trapped only if it has attacked people. “In recent traps, there were not even any formal complaints about attacks on livestock. So why were they trapped?” He said trapping and relocation of leopards should be the last option to manage wildlife conflict.

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