Sunil Limaye, principal chief conservator of forests confirmed that the leopard that was trapped is the one that the forest department had been looking for.
“After successful operation of Thane forest, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and members of Mumbaikars for SGNP, the leopardess ‘C 32’ is trapped successfully and has been taken to SGNP. We will see what is to be done next. We will take care, find out what exactly has gone wrong with the leopardess. The other leopardess which was trapped earlier and is the sibling of ‘C 32’ will be released in due course of time and if possible with a radio collar around her neck,” said Limaye.
It was on October 30 that Limaye had renewed permission for continuing the operations to trap the leopardess. Permissions are granted only for a month.
The Thane forest division which oversees the Aarey Colony had laid camera traps to identify the leopardess that was causing the attacks on humans.
During one such trip to lay the camera traps, the team managed to take a picture as she made an unsuccessful attempt to attack a human. This picture was then matched with the earlier picture records of all leopards in SGNP and Aarey.
The leopardess was identified by the rosette pattern and it matched with that of C 32.
Two cages with bait in one were laid at different locations in Aarey Colony where the leopardess had attacked people.
The first leopardess to be captured was the sibling of C 32 and she continues to be in captivity.
The second leopard that was trapped was the mother of the two female leopardesses. She was immediately released in the wild after it was verified that she was not the one attacking humans.
In over a month, C 32 has attacked nearly eight people including a four-year-old child and a senior citizen. All of them were treated at the Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Care Centre for claw injuries and required suturing.
Jayesh Bhise, a resident said a cage had been set up on the edge of the Ekta Nagar basti behind Chhota Kashmir close to a forest thicket.
“The forest officials would routinely come on rounds to check if the leopard had been trapped. Around 7.30 pm it was they who found the trapped leopard,” he said.