Rajkot: Forest dept yet to decide on leopard's rehabilitation
The forest department is yet to take a call on the rehabilitation of a free-ranging wild leopard which was trapped by a team of Rajkot Zoological Park on Saturday, park authorities said on Monday.
“We have kept the leopard in the quarantine facility inside the veterinary hospital of our zoo. Since we captured the animal, I have been in regular contact with the officers of the state forest department as they are the ones who have to take a call on rehabilitation of this leopard. We are still awaiting a final word from them,” Rakesh Hirapara, superintendent of Rajkot Zoological Park (RZP), told The Indian Express on Monday.
RZP is popularly called Pradyuman Park and is located on a small group of hillocks surrounded from three sides by Lalpari Dam and Randarda Lake. It is managed by Rajkot Municipal Corporation. The leopard had jumped over an eight-feet high perimetre wall of the park and preyed on a hog-dear inside the latter’s enclosure last Sunday (February 17). The zoo authorities had placed six trap cages inside the park in an attempt to capture the animal.
“On the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, our guards on night patrol had a fleeting view of the leopard in the birds’ section. Therefore, we placed a cage in the birds’ section and isolated that park of the area. We also switched off lights in that part at night. Eventually, the carnivore took the bait early on Saturday and we managed to trap it,” Hirapara said.
“We were concerned that the leopard might go away from the park vicinity while we remain under constant apprehension that it may strike again. Besides placing trap cages, we doubled the level of security in the park by deploying pairs of security guards instead of routine solo guards. Since the enclosures of animals of deer family are open, they were most vulnerable. Therefore, we have had to install floodlights there. Leopards avoid lights and human activity. On the other hand, we had converted the birds section in an isolated stretch. The strategy eventually worked and there was not other untoward incident reported,” Hirapara added.
The superintendent said that the captured animal is a male leopard in his prime age of five to six years. “We suspect this could have come from Wankaner,” he said, adding male leopards some times stray far away from their established range.