GURGAON: A female leopard cub, about nine months old, was mowed down by a high-speed vehicle on the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road near the Mangar forest late on Tuesday. The impact of the collision was such that the big cat was flung far from the accident spot. Severely injured, it tried to cross the road but died while doing so, said forest officials and experts who examined the site.
It is the sixth leopard to die in the region within a year, according to wildlife experts. There are around 11 leopards in the forests of Mangar.
Amit Chaudhery, president of People for Animals (PFA), Gurgaon, told TOI he got a call from a volunteer and wildlife officials around 10.40 pm on Tuesday that a leopard had been hit. He rushed with his team to the spot, around 2 km further from the Faridabad toll plaza, but the big cat had died by then.
“Even after she was hit, she had tried to cross the road, but succumbed to the serious injuries on her head on the way,” he said, adding the animal was taken to forest department hospital in Faridabad in an ambulance for a post-mortem.
A senior forest department official said it was clear by looking at the carcass that the leopard was less than a year old, but healthy. “Too many concrete structures and habitations have come up in the Aravalis, forcing wild animals to emerge from the forest in search of food. As a result, many wild beasts die after colliding with vehicles on the road here,” the official said.
“The impact of the accident left serious injuries on her head and face, with a few teeth also broken. The femur, too, was fractured,” the official added. The leopard’s body will be cremated according to norms after the autopsy.
Vivek Kamboj, founder of Haryali NGO, said animal lovers and activists have been demanding a ban on construction in forests areas and the development of wildlife corridors to prevent such accidents. “It seems the authorities are not serious about our flora and fauna. But we will continue our campaign for the protection of our wildlife. We’re also writing to the Haryana chief minister, asking for serious measures in this direction before it is too late,” Kamboj said.
Gurgaon and Faridabad share a majority of the total 300 sqkm of leopard habitat in Haryana. Apart from the biggest threat, that of human encroachment on their territory, three major roads passing through the leopard habitat also pose a grave danger, according to forest officials. They are NH-8, Rampura-Mohammedpur-Tauru road and Palwal-Sohna-Rewari road. Within last three months, a leopard, a python, two cobras, three jackals, two civet cats and 19 Nilgais have been found dead on various stretches, a forest official said.
Leopards are listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Hunting or attacking leopards is illegal and a punishable offence, with a minimum sentence of up to three years imprisonment, or a fine of Rs 10,000.
Rao Jaswant Singh,TNN | May 7, 2015, 02.52 AM IST