Mumbai: Aarey Colony witnessed yet another case of human-wildlife conflict on Sunday evening when a leopard pounced on a four-year-old boy who was returning home after a walk with his father. The leopard had dragged the child for a few feet when his father, Ashok Shah (name changed), started screaming in terror — which scared the wild cat away.
The boy, whose family stays at Royal Palms, has received two minor stitches on his chest. According to the police, Shah was walking ahead of his son when the leopard got hold of the child and tried to drag him away. “He started screaming then, and the animal bolted back to the forest,” said a police officer.
According to experts, leopards do not usually attack human beings unless they mistake them for prey. Biologist and researcher Dr Vidya Athreya, who has studied leopards extensively, said, “Leopards have better vision at night as compared to the daytime. When one is out for a walk in an area populated by the big cats, utmost care should be taken. However, leopards do not attack humans, and the animal in question’s behaviour does not seem to be normal.”
According to the police, the family has requested privacy and hence no names were disclosed. Senior police inspector Vijay Oulkar said the boy was rushed to a Malad-based hospital immediately after the incident. Aarey had witnessed a similar incident earlier this month, when a three-year-old child playing in the Aarey hamlet of Khadapada fell prey to a leopard.