A 1.5-year-old girl died after a leopard attacked her at around 6:30 am on Diwali (Monday) while on her way to a temple with her mother in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony. The police have said she was declared brought dead at the hospital. A case has been filed under Accidental Death Report, the police said.
Aarey Colony is a green belt of Mumbai and is located close to the sprawling Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
The incident took place in unit number 15 of Aarey Colony around 6.30 am when the child followed her mother who was on her way to a temple around 30 feet from their house, an official from the Aarey police station said.
A leopard suddenly appeared from the forested area and attacked the girl, leaving her seriously injured. The toddler was rushed to a hospital, where she was declared dead by doctors, he said.
“On the basis of primary information, we have registered an accidental death report (ADR) in the case and further investigation was underway,” the official added.
Meanwhile, the forest department has initiated an action plan to prevent human-wildlife conflict in the area and installed camera traps to monitor movements of leopards, an official said.
A team from the Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) has been called in by the forest department for assistance, he said.
The authorities have deployed a wildlife ambulance, wildlife distress response teams from the Mumbai forest department and volunteers in the area, the official said.
Rescuers, leopard experts, veterinarians and senior officials from the forest department will be stationed at Aarey Colony round the clock for the entire week, he said.
After the girl’s tragic death, around a dozen camera traps have been installed to monitor the movement of leopards and other wild animals, the official said, adding volunteers are patrolling the area.
According to the forest official, since it was Diwali, many children had ventured out of their homes to burst firecrackers.
“Our staff members have been cautioning local residents and asking them to stay indoors and not allow children to go out of homes, especially during night and early morning hours, he said.
Aarey Colony, which houses tribal hamlets, has witnessed several attacks by leopards in the past.
(With inputs from PTI)
SGNP, located in the in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, is home to leopards and other wild animals besides birds. PTI ZA ARU RSY RSY