A leopardess was found in an injured status near Delhi Darbar Inn on the Western Express Highway near Kashimira area at around Sunday’s mid-night. However, the pregnant big cat succumbed to her injuries later.
“Identified as L98, the leopardess aged 3.5 years old and was one-month pregnant, carrying three foetuses,” according to the forest officials.
After hit by the vehicle, the leopardess has limped towards the bushes of SGNP area. People then informed the forest officials, said the eye-witness.
Forest officers along with local police reached the spot and find out the leopardess.
“Unfortunately, she succumbed to her injury while undergoing treatment at 2:30 am. As per postmortem reports, the leopardess died due to multiple haemorrhages, multiple fractures, internal bleeding and muscular damage, resulting in hypovolemia and respiratory arrest,” said Manoj Patil, Forest Officer, Ghodbunder Range.
Forest officials said that they will examine the CCTV footage at the accident spot to track down the vehicle.
Dr Shaliesh Pethe, Senior Veterinarian, SGNP, said the gestation period for a leopard has three months. “This L98 leopardess was one-month pregnant. Externally one can identify that a leopardess is pregnant only within the last 15 days before she delivers,” he said.
“A week ago, one of our cameras near Kashimira, has captured the leopardess. However, it is extremely unfortunate that she met with the accident. Probably, it is not easy for animals to understand oncoming traffic,” said Nikit Surve, Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Conservation Society.
Ghodbunder Road and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway are active wildlife crossing spots at night. There are signboards cautioning motorists to go slow at specific crossings. However, speeding drivers never get arrested.
An earlier assessment had revealed in 2013 that 40 leopards died in road accidents along the vicinity of SGNP. The numbers had from statistics collected between 1994 and 2012.