NASHIK: The Nashik West Forest Department, Igatpuri Range office trapped two leopards on November 11. Department trapped a leopard cub early in the morning last Thursday. On the same day, evening, the female leopard, mother of the cub, got trapped in a cage set up in the Shivaji Nagar area of Igatpuri. The action was taken by the Forest Department after a leopard attacked one of the citizens in the area. But, it is now learned that one cub is still missing and has parted from her mother and sibling.
The Forest Department has now decided to rescue the remaining cub and reunite it with the family. The forest officials have confirmed that one of the leopard cubs is still missing. The cub is about one year old and can survive on its own. It is capable enough to hunt and will be fine even without a mother. The forest department has laid trap cameras in the area, but no signs of cub have been found yet.
About 15 days ago, a video of a mother and her cubs went viral in Igatpuri town. The family of three was seen playing on the roof of an abandoned railway workshop near Railway Employees Rest Room at Shivaji Nagar area. The locals were used to the leopards and even suggested to the forest department not to install cages. However, after the attack, the forest department faced heavy opposition from a few citizens and local politicians. Under pressure, the forest department took action and installed cages in the area.
The leopards were staying in the middle of Igatpuri City. Their hideout was attached to the railway station of the Igatpuri. In such a crowded place, the female leopard managed to grow her cubs. The locals informed them that the family of three leopards became a common sight for them. They have been witnessing the presence of the leopard for the last two and a half years. The videos of playing cubs went viral a few months back in Igatpuri. These videos were taken by the locals while taking a walk.
“The situation at Igatpuri is under control. The cages were set up after demand from locals and attacks on people. About the missing cub, we are monitoring the situation. Surveillance is going on in the area for the cub. We will wait a day or two.The leopard cub we have rescued and the one missing; are of the same age. The cub missing is a sub-adult leopard and can hunt. There is no issue with its survival. We are focusing on rescuing the second cub and reuniting the family again. After rescuing the cub, all three will be released in suitable habitat. Awareness is also being created in the Igatpuri." - Pankaj Garg, DCF, Nashik West
“There was no issue with the leopards before the attack. After one of the leopards attacked a person in the Shivaji Nagar area, people became angry. After that, demand for a cage came up. Before that, the citizens here were very normal with leopards in their sight.” - Deepak Durga, Local