Pune: Leopard Takes Life of Two-Year-Old in Shiroli Khurd, Junnar

Share this News:

Junnar, 12th April 2024: A one-and-a-half to two-year-old girl, Sanskriti Sanjay Kolekar, was kidnapped by a leopard around five o’clock in the morning on Wednesday (11th April). The remains, including bones of her skull and part of her right paw, were later found on the embankment of a neighbouring sugarcane field. The incident occurred in Shiroli Khurd village of Junnar taluka in Pune district.

Sanskriti’s family, led by her father Sanjay Kolekar, hails from Dhotre village in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district. They have been bringing their flock of sheep to Shiroli Khurd for several years. The Kolekar family, along with other shepherds, were staying on the farm of farmer Sampat More in Shiroli Khurd on Wednesday night. According to Police Patil Vikram More, the leopard took Sanskriti, who was sleeping between Kolekar and his wife, around 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

Upon receiving information about the incident, a team from the forest department, led by forest range officer Pradip Chavan, promptly arrived at the location. They searched the surrounding fields for the girl. Using drone cameras, it was observed that the leopard had fled the sugarcane field. Additionally, Sanskriti’s head cap and frock were found near a field. While searching the area, the remains, including bones from her head and part of her right hand, were found on the embankment of the sugarcane field belonging to Subhash Thorat and Vishwas Jadhav.

Sub-Divisional Police Officer Ravindra Chaudhari, Junnar Police Inspector Kiran Avachar, Assistant Police Inspector Dilip Pawar, and police team members Pandit Thorat and Sagar Shinde conducted a Panchnama and sent the remains for autopsy. Upon learning of the incident, Junnar MLA Atul Benke and Vighnahar Cooperative Sugar Factory President Satyasheel Sherkar visited the site.

MLA Atul Benke noted that numerous shepherds have migrated to Junnar taluka from Nagar district in search of fodder. Living outdoors and safeguarding their sheep from leopards presents a significant challenge for them, and their own lives are also at risk. He expressed deep concern over the tragic incident in Shiroli Khurd. Due to the increase in the leopard population in Junnar taluka, such incidents are occurring more frequently. He urged the forest department to take additional measures to ensure the safety of citizens and raise awareness within the community. Those living outdoors should take precautions and adhere to the Forest Department’s safety guidelines.

Forest Range Officer Pradip Chavan described the incident as tragic and stated that the forest department had deployed 12 cages, 8 trap cameras, 10 rescue teams, and 30 forest officers and staff to capture the leopard. Chavan also emphasized the importance of citizens living outdoors taking responsibility for their safety.