The areas around Vasai that pass close to the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary are extremely critical as there have been previous reports too of leopards being knocked down by speeding vehicles.
An adult male leopard was knocked dead by a vehicle on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway near Vasai on Friday night. The incident yet again brings to focus the threat to wildlife from speeding vehicles on the highway, where several leopards have been victim to road accidents.
Forest department officials said they received a phone call around 11 pm from Vasai about a leopard lying on the highway near Sativali area close to the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary(TWS). A team from Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was sent to the spot, but they found that the leopard was already dead.
“It was an adult male and on examination it was found that the leopard had already died on the spot. It was evident that the vehicle must have been at a high speed and hit the leopard while it was trying to cross the road,” said an official.
Dr Shailesh Pethe, veterinary officer SGNP who conducted the postmortem of the leopard revealed that the big cat had multiple fractures due to the impact. “The injuries clearly indicated that due to the severe impact of being hit by the vehicle, there was no chance of its survival,” he said adding that the leopard did not have any external wounds but suffered from severe internal injuries.
Infact as per a study carried out under the Mumbaikars for SGNP project in 2012, around 40 leopards were killed in road accidents along SGNP including Vasai and Thane-Ghodbunder area between 1994 to 2011.
Wildlife activists have been raising the issue of safe passage for wild animals on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway as well as Thane Ghodbunder area that passes though leopard habitat, asking forest department to study the pattern of leopard crossing and ensure speed restrictions can be applied for vehicles at certain crucial spots.