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instances of animals straying out of forests are growing of late. With the aim to prevent these, the Maharashtra state forest department is chalking out a novel project. As per the project, leopards caught while straying into villages will be rehabilitated so that they do not return to human habitats. Deputy conservator of forests Ashok Khadse revealed that the first project would come up near Pune in Junnar. These trapped felines will be released in properly fenced forest homes. It is hoped that the forest homes would help in psychologically stabilising leopards caught in villages as they would be reintroduced to nature in their actual habitat.

The department has sent across a detailed plan to rejuvenate certain forested areas in the Western Ghats by creating a string of jungle ponds and introducing herbivores. Says Khadse, "These would certainly minimise instances of leopards straying into human habitats.'

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