‘Leopard population study required’
“Once the population study is done, we can find ways to control the population of leopards in the region if required.” said Khandekar.
PUNE: Considering the rising leopard population during the last decade in Junnar and Khed talukas of Pune district, officials from the Pune Forest Department have planned to conduct a population study of leopards to find solutions to the man-animal conflict.
As per the Forest Department, since 2010, ten persons have been killed and 39 have been injured in leopard attacks in Pune district. From 2010 to 2017, 3,806 domestic animals were killed by leopards in Pune district and a compensation of Rs 263 lakh was paid by the government to those affected by leopard attacks.
Vivek Khandekar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Pune circle, said that they will be approaching the Wildlife Institute of India for the study.
“If Wildlife Institute of India carries out the study, it will be credible. We know that there has been a rise in population of leopards in the region, but until a population study is done, we will not be able to calculate their actual strength. The climate of Pune district and the sugarcane fields here are suitable for leopards.
“Once the population study is done, we can find ways to control the population of leopards in the region if required. Our main aim is to reduce man-animal conflict in the area and a population study will certainly help us in planning moves to reduce man-animal conflict,” said Khandekar.
Dr Ajay Deshmukh, Veterinary Officer at Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar, said that currently the leopards trapped and rescued by MLRC are released in the wild after installing a microchip in them, which helps keep a count of leopards.