Thursday, August 10, 2006

Leopard on campus

By Yogesh Naik
[10 Aug, 2006 1229hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

MUMBAI, India: Authorities at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli have recommended action against Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, for trapping a leopard within their premises without permission. IIT students had trapped the leopard last week.

National Parks field director P N Munde said, "We conducted an inquiry and found that a panther had been trapped and released by IITians. They had not taken any permission from the forest department. This is in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act. We have sent a report to the chief conservator of forests, Thane PPS Yaduvendu since the trap had taken place outside the jurisdiction of the National Parks."

Munde said IIT officials have been told not to set up a trap on their own in future.

"If people are allowed to trap leopards, then residents of Aarey Colony, Yeoor and housing colonies in Mulund and Thane will start doing so regularly. One needs to curb this practice started by IITians," said a forest official.

Neela Satyanarayan, Principal Secretary (forests), also agreed that the act was not justified.

Meanwhile, IIT officials said that their security guards had spotted the wild animal for two days before they decided to set the trap.

"The cage had been designed by mechanical engineering students in such a way that the animal may enter but can't eat the bait. The gate shuts only after the animal is fully in, so that the tail does not get injured," an official said. The leopard was trapped within the IIT campus on August 1. The animal was transported back to the national park.

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