A LEOPARDESS was caught in a trap laid by poachers on the outskirts of Ferozpur village in Naraingarh tehsil of Ambala, around 55 km from here on Monday night. The cat was rescued by a team of Haryana wildlife department, led by Divisional Wildlife Forest Officer (DWFO), Pinjor, S S Rawat. The team was assisted by the local police in the two-hour-long rescue operation. Ferozpur is located in the foothills of Shivalik range and touches the border of Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
The injured leopardess was shifted to Rohtak Zoo for veterinary care. Senior wildlife officials said that the left side front paw of the cat got stuck in the trap, which was deep-rooted in the earth, and in unsuccessful attempts to release itself, the cat wounded its paw badly.
The cat was given two tranquiliser injections to make it unconscious after being caught in a huge net. Hundreds of villagers assembled on the spot after coming to know about the trapped cat. The villagers blamed migrant labourers, who are working in the fields of sugarcane on contractual basis and daily wages for laying traps.
Rulda Singh, a local resident of Ferozpur, said, “Apparently, the trap was laid for wild boars but a leopardess got stuck in it. People, who laid the trap, were scared of cat and it is the reason that they did not go near the trap and abandoned it. The trapped animal was spotted by three local youths, who were going to their farms, around 7 am. Subsequently, we passed the information to the nearby police post and the rescue operation started around 10.30 am.”
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) S M Somashekhar said, “The gender of the cat was unconfirmed till the time it was not tranquillised. The leopardess was in a healthy condition but she got injured herself in attempts to release from the trap. We have seized the trap equipment and checked the nearby areas to rule out the presence of other traps. The rescued leopardess will be kept in the zoo till further decision is taken on releasing the cat in the wild. The decision shall be taken after three or four days.”
A member of the rescue team said, “We cannot say the trap was laid by migrant labourers because sometimes farmers too lay traps to keep away wild boars from their agricultural lands. We are in the process of identifying the man who laid the trap.” Shivalik hills are the habitat of wild animals.