The residents in the city of Thane woke up to the shocking news of a leopard being spotted in one of the city's famous mall, the Korum Mall. The leopard's movements were captured on a CCTV footage and the leopard was seen moving about in the basement area. From there, the leopard headed towards another well-known hotel nearby, the Satkar Residency. Though the forest officials were called in, the rescue operation went on for a few hours before the wild animal was finally trapped and tranquilised for its rescue. Although this is not the first time a leopard has been spotted in and around Thane but this time the animal got too close to city complexes. Leopard Spotted at Korum Mall in Thane Caught in Premises of Hotel Satkar Residency; Watch Video.
The incident points out to the harsh reality of the diminishing distance between development and encroachment of forest land. The Upavan forest, which meets the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is known for common sighting for leopards. But now the wild animals have started entering the city premises, spreading fear among the residents. Leopard Cub Found Sleeping Next to Kids in Maharashtra's Nashik House.
Watch Video of Leopard Captured in Thane Today
— Nishikant Karlikar (@NishikantkTOI) February 20, 2019
Let us look at some past incidences when a leopard was seen in and around Thane district.
Residential area in Ulhasnagar: In March 2018, a leopard had entered a residential building of Ulhasnagar. Forest department officials were called in immediately for the rescue. The leopard was seen entering the building after leaping over the surrounding wall. The forest officials managed to rescue the wild cat after a few hours. Watch Video: Leopard Entering Residential Building in Ulhasnagar.
Leopard Attacks in Mulund: Mulund, which is the neighbouring city of Thane has seen several incidences of leopard attacks. In July 2018, a leopard had attacked a pet Rottweiler dog in Mulund West. The owner who went for its rescue was also attacked by the animal and suffered deep injuries. The area where the leopard attack falls within the national park area.
Park in Ghodbunder Area: In the month of July 2018, a camera installed at Sagar Residency in Thane's Ghodbunder area captured a leopard strolling across in their park. The big wild cat was seen prowling on the building lawn in the wee hours of the morning. It had jumped over the compound wall and entered the residential premises. The residents were informed about the do's and don'ts in case of spotting a leopard and how to deal with it.
Village in Virar: In the month of November last year, a leopard was spotted at night of November 1 and it was found dead, the next morning. A male leopard about 5 years old was seen by a forest staffer on his night duty and he had informed the forest officials about the same. On the next morning, the wild cat was found dead in the field with injury marks on its body. The cause of death wasn't known. Leopard Cub Dies at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Officials Suspect Poisoning.
Upvan area in Thane: Thane's Upavan area which is just adjacent to the Yeoor forest cover sees frequent sightings of the wild cat. These big cats are known to come to Upavan Lake to drink water. In November 2017, the residents of Cosmos Hills, a highrise in Upavan saw a leopard its compound in early hours of the morning. The big cat sat in the compound of their building for over half an hour.
The incidences are far many in the areas surrounding the forests especially near Upavan and Ghodbunder region, both of which are in close proximity to SGNP. The fact that leopards are now entering into the city insides just points out that the man-animal conflict is on a rise. Wild animals usually stray to the residential colonies in search of food and water. They are usually shy but become aggressive when they sense danger. It is best to not panic and call the forest officials and let them take over instead of tackling the wild animal on our uninformed knowledge. The rising encroachment for developmental projects into the forest areas does harm the wildlife and brings them in conflict with human settlements. It is a thing to wonder whether its the animals who are encroaching the cityscapes or are we as a civilisation are moving into the forests.