Pune Forest Division Mulls Leopard Sterilisation to Curb Population and Human-Wildlife Conflict

Pune Forest Division Mulls Leopard Sterilisation to Curb Population and Human-Wildlife Conflict

Thus, he said that a proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Ankit ShuklaUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 03:27 PM IST
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Pune Forest Division Mulls Leopard Sterilisation to Curb Population and Human-Wildlife Conflict |

In order to curb leopard attacks and escalating human-leopard conflicts in the regions of Junnar, Ambegaon, Shirur, and Akole, the Forest Department is considering sterilising the leopards in the region to control their population.

NR Praveen, Chief Conservator of Forests, Pune, while speaking with The Free Press Journal, said, "Junnar is among the regions with the highest leopard population in the country. In recent years, sugarcane farming has increased in Junnar and surrounding areas and thus animals are getting food and water easily without hunting, which helps them stay healthy and live longer. This also contributes to the increase in the leopard population."

Thus, he said that a proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Considering the increasing leopard population in Junnar, the Forest Department is thinking about sterilising them. However, this is a central-level proposal and will take time to pass, he added.

Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center

He also shared that the department has purchased 10 acres of land from the Irrigation Department for ₹1.27 crore. This new land will accommodate additional enclosures for captured leopards, addressing the center's current overcrowding issues.

The Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center in Junnar has been operational for twenty years, treating injured and permanently disabled leopards. Currently, the center has a capacity for forty leopards.

However, due to the recent increase in human-leopard conflict, more leopards involved in attacks on humans or injured in various accidents are being brought to the center. Forest officials are facing the challenge of finding space for these leopards. Most of the leopards are released back into the wild.

Praveen expressed, "The department receives ten to fifteen calls daily from Junnar and surrounding areas regarding leopards being sighted on roads, roaming in sugarcane fields, or entering villages at night, causing insecurity among the residents. Recognising the growing number of leopards, accidents, and the seriousness of the conflict, we are expanding the rescue center. We had requested the Irrigation Department to provide unused land."

"Planning for the construction of enclosures and other proposed structures is underway, with the project aimed to be completed within the next year in phase one," added Praveen.

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