Leopard 'Bhim' adopted by RPI chief Ramdas Athavale, dies at SNGP

On Monday, 'Bhim', the leopard adopted by the Minister of State for Social Welfare, Ramdas Athavale died at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SNGP). While the leopard died due to natural cause, its demise witnessed a political turn with protest by RPI members

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After the death of a nine-year-old captive leopard, Bhim on Monday, September 23, some members of the Republic Party of India (RPI) staged a protest against Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) officials. The natural death of Bhim seems to be taking a political turn as the leopard was adopted by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and RPI chief Ramdas Athavale in 2017 as part of the SGNP's animal adoption programme. He had even renewed the adoption four months ago.

According to the National Park officials, two leopards (both two-month-old) were brought to SNGP in 2010 from Shahpur. These leopards were hand-raised by the staff and one of them was named Bhim whereas the other one was named Arjun.

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Bhim had been suffering last week despite being given necessary treatment by Dr Shailesh Pethe, Veterinary Officer, SGNP. In the meantime, Bhim had stopped eating food on Saturday and Sunday after which its treatment was initiated again. Subsequently, he was found dead on Monday at around 7.30 am.

Postmortem was conducted by pathologists from Mumbai Veterinary College on Monday. Prima facie the cause of death is an acute cardiac failure and the tissue samples have been submitted for further examination," informed Dr Pethe.

Meanwhile, some RPI members went and met SGNP, Director Anwar Ahmed who tried convincing them that the veterinary doctors tried every possible way to save him. But despite explaining them in detail, the group refused to listen and submitted a letter to the local police station against SGNP officials.

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