The leopard grabbed the 4-year-old boy near Royal Palms in Aarey Colony, making this the third such incident in a month
It was a father vs a big cat as a four-year-old’s life hung in balance. And the dad managed to win this battle.
An evening walk on Saturday at Royal Palms in Aarey colony turned into a crisis, when a leopard hiding in the bushes lunged for the toddler, who was just a few feet behind his father.
The man immediately ran to the nearby wall where the animal had dragged his son, and as the spotted cat tried to jump over with its prey, he snatched his boy. The leopard, unwilling to let him go, finally did after two passers-by ran in to help, creating a racket to scare the animal.
On Saturday night, the man, a resident of a society in the area, was out for a walk with his four-year-old son. The incident happened when they were on their way back.
In the nick of time
“Around 7.30 pm, we were passing a stretch between some bungalows and a hillock. I was walking a few feet ahead of my son and saw a leopard sitting in the bushes 10 feet away. I turned around to protect him, but within seconds, the animal had jumped on him and dragged him towards a wall nearby,” he said.
He ran towards the leopard, and while the animal was trying to climb over the two-foot wall, he snatched the boy. “The animal was not ready to leave my son. But then, two people ran in to help, all of us making loud noises; it got scared and left my son,” he added.
The boy suffered injuries on his chest, back and leg. A passing biker took them to a private hospital in Gokuldham. Doctors there administered first aid to the boy and sent them to Life Wave hospital in Malad (East).
“He is better now; he will be discharged in a day. I am a wildlife lover, but the incident has shocked me, because nothing like this has happened in our area. I would like to appeal to all staying here that they shouldn’t let children out of the house after sunset and before sunrise,” said Kumar.
On Saturday, the Aarey police station called the father for his statement. The forest department was informed the next morning, after which range forest officer (Mumbai) Santosh Kank sent leopard rescue team members Sudheer Phadke and RT Thavar to the spot.
“They spoke to the family to understand what happened. Residents must not let children out of the house alone after dusk and before dawn,” said Kank.
Locals said there is a dump nearby, and leopards lurk around in order to catch the dogs frequenting the spot.