Mumbai, Jan 22: The Maharashtra government has set up an 11-mem-ber committee to study the rising number of leopard deaths in the state, their attack on humans and to suggest measures to curb such in-cidents.
State Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod made the announcement Thursday. The committee is headed by SunilLim,9ye, additional principal chief conservator of forests, he said. “It will study the increase in the number and causes of leopard deaths, loss of human life due to at-tacks by these animals and find so-lutions to it,” Rathod said.
The committee is expected to submit its report to the state gov-ernment in three months, the min-ister added. As per the available data, the number of people killed in leop-ard attacks in Maharashtra more than tripled to 27 in 2020 as compared to eight such incidents recorded in 2019, a senior forest department of-ficial has said.
At the same time, the number of leopard deaths also increased in 2020 as compared to the previous year A total of 172 leopards died in the state in 2020 due to various rea-sons. This figure stood at 110 in the previous year, the official said. The rise in death of humans as well as leopards indicates growing incidents of man-animal conflict, he said.
In 2020, a total of 27 people were killed in attack by leopards in various parts of Maharashtra till December 3, the official said. At 12, Nashik district in north Maharashtra accounted for the highest number of deaths of people in leopard attacks, followed by the Marathwada region that re-ported seven deaths. The remaining deaths were reported from other parts of the state, he added.
When asked about the reasons be-hind the rise in the number of leop-ard deaths, he said some of the big cats were killed in road accidents, while some others drowned in wells. Some leopards died due to natu-ral causes, while others were killed by poachers,
he said. The official, however said that the t. population of leopards in the state has also gone up exponentially. “We don’t have the exact figures , as many leopards are found in sug-± arcane fields and in areas under cultivation,” he said.