Since Tuesday morning, Wellington Society in Hiranandani Estate in Thane has been abuzz with news of an unusual visitor. On the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, a leopard was spotted entered the parking lot of the building.
The incident took place around 12.55am. Although the leopard left without harming anybody, residents of the society have taken precautionary measures.
The leopard made its way into the society’s parking lot and after spending about two minutes hunting for prey, exited. “I was sitting inside the ground floor security office monitoring the CCTV cameras, while my colleague was sitting outside, guarding the area,” said a security guard at the society.
While the guard outside probably dozed off and was unaware of the beast’s presence within the premises, the one who saw the leopard on the CCTV camera quickly called him in.
The guards alerted the residents in the morning and since then, people have been discussing ways to tackle the menace. “People come downstairs as early as 5am for their morning walks and we also have yoga classes at 5.30am,” said Suvarna Sabnis, a resident, adding, “From now on, we will advise people to move in groups, armed with sticks.”
While the adults are confident that they will be able to handle the beast provided they are in groups and have sticks, the kids will be under a parent-imposed curfew. “We won’t allow the children to go out after dark,” said Prakash Nagapurkar, another resident.
Security measures have also been strengthened. “From now on, there will be one more security guard helping us man the premises,” said the two guards, who have been provided with batons and search lights.
The Hiranandani Estate Residents Welfare Association (HERWA) has also alerted residents of neighboring buildings. “We have asked residents of 90 buildings in the neighboring area to be careful,” said CN Shetty, a HERWA member. The association has also roped in forest officials, who have agreed to patrol the area at night.