Lohegaon residents say at 7 pm every day, elusive cat-dog-mongoose creature comes to eat their pigeons, goats
A "weird, scary creature" has been giving residents of Sanjay Park area sleepless nights. Those staying near the airport in Lohegaon are complaining about a bhootbilli (ghost cat), which they say has been feeding on domestic animals and birds the past 10 days.
The spot (above) from where pigeons were picked up by the creature;
Feroze Khan shows the box he kept his pigeons in (inset);
For several people, the incident brought to mind the monkey-man episode, a 'monster' that was reportedly roaming around Delhi in 2001 (see box).
"The bhootbilli has been coming everyday the past 10 days around 7 pm. We had set up a lot of traps, but all turned into a flop show because whenever we would try to catch it, it would jump on the tree and sneak out somewhere," said Feroz Dilawar Khan, a driver and resident of the area. "It's fat and broad with a long tail, black in colour, has a face like a dog and back like a mongoose."
The bhootbilli, as it is called by the residents, has eaten around 45 pigeons and one goat within a span of 10 days which all belonged to Feroz.
Fed-up of the creature, Feroz called the police, fire brigade and forest officials on November 3 around 10 pm, but the effort went in vain. "We arrived at the spot around 10 pm, but the animal had already escaped and hid somewhere in the trees," said one of the fire officials from Yerawada, who was at the spot.
The residents have again set a trap and are expecting to catch the mischief-maker this time.
Hrishikesh Sutar, chairman of the Sanjay Park Society, said: "The residents came complaining to me around
four days ago and we haven't yet identified the creature. It's smaller than a lion but bigger than a hyena and I doubt if it's a wild cat."
What could it be?
Shekhar Nanajkar, president of a Wild, a wildlife organisation, said: "It's a rare case but according to the description given to me it can be a civet cat who attacks only small animals and birds. But if a goat has been eaten then it's either a leopard or human being."
Anil Avchite, an animal lover, who had gone to the area around midnight on Wednesday, said: "I climbed
up a 40-feet coconut tree as soon as the locals contacted me. I am sure it's a civet cat. I have asked locals to get in touch with me if they see the creature again."
A strange, monkey-like creature had been appearing at night and attacking people in Delhi in 2001. Many thought a man dressed as a monkey was intimidating people, but he was never caught
The civet cat
A civet is a small, lithe-bodied, mostly arboreal mammal native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like an otter or a mongoose