Ritesh stays at Marol and had come along with his parents to his uncle’s place to attend a wedding on Sunday.
Mumbai: Ritesh Malvi (3) was injured in a man-animal conflict at Aarey Milk Colony on Monday at around 8.45pm. Ritesh was mauled by a leopard and suffered injuries in his chest and throat, immediately after which he was rushed to a private hospital at Vijay Nagar in Marol, and is now out of danger.
However, villagers of the pada said that as has become common in the area, the leopard might have come near Ritesh’s house to pick up poultry or a stray dog however mistook the boy for his prey and attacked him.
Ritesh stays at Marol and had come along with his parents to his uncle’s place to attend a wedding on Sunday. At around 8.45pm on Monday, Ravi Bhusare, Ritesh’s uncle’s neighbour, stepped out to make a call when he saw a leopard lurking behind piles of firewood. Initially, he thought it was a dog but after realising it was a big cat, he immediately alerted the families in the vicinity, especially the small children.
Bhusare recalled, “When I called all the children to run back into their homes, the leopard grabbed Ritesh. However, it left him and fled into the jungle after I made some noise,” explained Bhusare.
A relative of Ritesh said, “They had come to stay as there was a marriage in the family two days ago. As it is summer vacation time, Ritesh and his mother decided to stay at our place for a day and were supposed to leave on Tuesday. The night of Monday, the leopard which was sitting behind the heap of firewood, attacked Ritesh. When we made some noise, it ran away.”
Post the incident, the Thane forest department (territorial) has increased patrolling in the area. Chief conservator of forests Thane (territorial), Sunil Limaye, said, “The concerned officials are investigating the incident. Camera traps have been installed in the pada to check leopard movements in and around the spot.”