CHANDRAPUR: The year dominated by incidents of man-animal conflict and deaths of tigers and leopards, came to an end with the death of a leopard cub on Friday morning. The dead body of the four-month-old leopard cub was recovered from the protected forest area under Ballarpur forest range at around 10am. Forest officials have concluded that the cub died in a fight with a pack of dogs.
As per forest officials, the leopard cub was found dead in the protected forest area around a kilometre inside the jungle adjacent to Ballarpur town in the morning. People visiting the jungle first noticed the dead body and informed forest department staffers. On getting information, a team of forest department officials led by RFO DI Tirpude reached the spot and initiated inquest formalities.
“It appears to be a four-month-old female cub. Preliminary investigations have revealed that it might have died in a fight with the pack of dog. There were injuries on the neck and rump of the cub, while its abdomen was ripped open and the intestine was protruding outside,” said RFO Tirpude.
He however held that it is still unclear whether it was the work of wild dogs or domestic dogs. “Our forest guard has seen a group of wild dogs in the area. But, the place is quite close to the town, hence the possibility of domestic dogs hunting down the cub cannot be ruled out,” he added.
Tirpude said that a leopardess with two cubs is known to frequent the area where the dead body was found. It is possible the cub strayed away from the mother and a pack of dogs attacked the lone cub and killed it.
The veterinary doctor who conducted the post mortem said that the swelling on the liver of the dead cub indicated that the cub might have been ailing and week, which helped the dogs to overpower it. After necessary formalities of inquest and post mortem, the dead body of the cub was cremated on the spot in the presence of senior officers DCF Madan Kulkarni and ACF BV Selukar.
Notably, 2010 saw the deaths of five leopards and four tigers in the jungles of Chandrapur district.