A leopard entered a house in Durga Colony of Sohna locality on the morning of April 27, forcing its six residents to stay trapped inside for five hours.
Around 9 am, the animal, which had strayed inside the colony and was desperately looking to escape, attacked Luv Kumar, a 23-year-old man who was painting a wall in the area. Kumar had scratches on his face and had to be admitted to a local hospital.
The big cat then attacked a 6-year-old, who received scratches on the chest and the shoulder, before making its way into the house. It was first spotted on the staircase by one of the residents. He alerted his family members, who locked themselves indoors.
Forest officials and the police reached the spot and tried to tranquillise the leopard. Two failed attempts later, reinforcements were called and the animal was successfully tranquillised on the third attempt. The forest officials used a net to prevent the leopard from escaping. The officials also brought in a cage to trap the leopard and take it to safety.
Should humans decide the fate of leopards?
The number of cases reporting leopards wandering into human settlements has gone up in areas near the Aravalli range.
With humans increasingly cutting down trees and encroaching on their natural habitat, these wild cats have become next to homeless. What used to be their home is now urban landscape. Unable to make the distinction, they stray into human habitat and fall prey to human fear and apathy — and more often than not, their fate is decided way too quickly and easily by humans.
According to wildlife experts, leopards have evolved to coexist alongside humans without causing them damage, other than occasionally preying on their domestic animals. Leopards, they say, are known to be the most adaptive of the big cats and also the most elusive. Their tendency is to avoid humans rather than attack them — unless, of course, they feel threatened.
Given the situation and that leopards have been known to live on the city margins — Sohna, Chhatarpur, Sangam Vihar, Asola and Saket — man-animal conflicts have been on the rise.
In Gurgaon alone, two incidents have made the headlines recently:
A three-and-a-half-year-old leopard was beaten to death on November 24, when it strayed into Sohna’s Mandawar village.
A leopard was reportedly seen at the DLF Golf Course on the night of April 17, although the authorities did not confirm seeing any pugmarks.
Summers, especially, see an increase in the number of wild cats foraying into residential areas surrounded by forests. Lack of water is a major factor, say wildlife experts.
So what's the way forward? Apathy or awareness?
The tranquillised leopard being transported to safety by forest officials