On similar lines as the Nandanvan Zoo in Chattisgarh and tiger safari in Naya Raipur along with the one planned in Nagpur, the forest department is also scheduled to open a leopard safari off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
The Maharashtra forest department has come up with this idea of opening leopard safaris in view of the many leopards which have been caught and transported to the Manikdoh rescue center in Junnar.
Chief conservator of forests, Pune wildlife wing, Sunil Limaye stated that while it was noted that these rescued and sometimes injured leopards find it difficult to return to the wild they do well and stay healthy in rescue centers. As on date, there are around 24 caged leopards at the Manikdoh rescue center where they are keeping better health than those exposed to the wild but having a designated safari would allow the leopards to roam freely but yet remain in a protected environment.
The proposed leopard safari off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway could take about a year to complete and the plan is to either release a few leopards in an enclosed area or set up a protected area for visitors to spot the animals while on a safari which could also serve the purpose of eco-tourism.
Approximately 100 hectares of land for the purpose is being identified which is along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Chakan or Lonavla while permissions from the Central Zoo Authority is also awaited following which the project will get underway.
via Times of India