After rumours of a suspected leopard attack continued to spread in and around Veerabhadra Nagar near Girinagar in the city for the second consecutive day, forest officials continued to camp in the area on Monday in a bid to spot the big cat and the residents in the area have been asked to stay indoors after sunset.
The development comes after local residents of a hillock in the area found a flock of sheep and goats mauled to death during the early hours of Sunday. According to residents, carcasses of a total of 17 goats and sheeps were found in a farm situated 700 metres off Nice Road which fuelled suspicion. The issue was then reported to the local police station after which forest officials were alerted.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Harish Pandey told Indianexpress.com that the police is yet to sight the wild cat even though forest officials and experts confirm that from the carcass of the animals at the farm in the area. “We have asked the forest team in the area to take suitable action to spot the possible areas if the leopard is around. They will try to ward it off or to tranquilise it and take it back to its habitat,” he said.
With residents and shepherds in the area panicking, the police have instructed people not to travel outside alone in the dark and to be more vigilant. “We have communicated the same to resident associations and other groups in the area. Beat constables have also been asked to be alert,” he added.
Meanwhile, Joseph Hoover, a member of the Karnataka Wildlife Board said that possible evidence including pug marks — which were claimed to be sighted by a person operating the farm — were destroyed due to the rush of people who visited the area to see what had happened. “While there are genuine signs that indicate a leopard attack, the lack of proper evidence is a challenge. With Turahalli Forest barely about four kilometres from the spot, leopard movement in the area is not rare. The surroundings in the area also make a good habitat for the wild cat,” he said.
Earlier last week, officers from the Chennammanakere Achukattu police station nearby had arrested four people, for allegedly trying to sell the claws and skin of wild animals. The police had then seized 400 leopard nails, and six tiger nails among others from the accused in Kathiriguppe.
In another incident in 2016, a conservationist and an employee of the forest department were injured during an effort to capture a leopard that strayed into a school on the outskirts of the city. The education department had then announced holiday for schools in the area until it was captured after tranquilisation .
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