Devlali (DVL): A six-year-old male leopard was killed in a rail accident near Bhagur, Deolali on early Monday morning, bringing the toll of the cats killed in the district to three this year. The locals had spotted the animal several times in Deolali in the past few months. This is the second such incident of a leopard being killed in on the railway tracks this year.
The leopard is said to have been crossing the railway line going towards Mumbai on the Bhagur-Lahvit Road in the wee hours of Monday when it got hit by a passenger train at a distance of 177 km from pole no. 60/62.
Forest officials have attributed frequent sightings of leopards in the jungles near Barnes School in Deolali to water scarcity due to summer. On May 15, a leopard had attacked a goat and a pig in the Chowdhary farm near Barnes School. When the farmer raised a cry, the cat fled. It is being speculated that the leopard that got killed on Monday morning was the same cat that was spotted moving around in the farms.
The leopard had apparently gone in search of water near the banks of the Darna river on late Sunday night and on its way back while crossing the railway line close to Dongre farm on the Bhagur-Lahvit Road, it got hit by the train and was badly injured in the face and forehead and later died.
After the forest department was informed of the incident early on early Monday morning, assistant forest guard Pradeep Bhamre, range forest officer Prashant Khairnar, forester M S Gosavi and others reached the spot and took the body of the leopard in their custody.
“We have cremated the leopard. The cat had most probably gone out in search of water when it got hit by the train,” one of the forest officials said.
When asked about the recent spurt of incidents of leopard deaths in the district, the official said, “Such incidents do not happen often. But at times, these animals fail to gauge the approaching train or other vehicles especially when the visibility is poor. There has been presence of leopards in this area as the environment is suitable for them. We have installed cages in various places to trap the cats straying into the city.”
Besides Deolali, cages have also been laid at Bhagur, Pandhurli, Vanjarwadi, Lohshingwe, Lahvit, Donwade, Shivda and other villages where the presence of leopards is known.