The leopard who had killed three deer, at an enclosure inside the palace of the royal family of the erstwhile Vansda state in Navsari district, was caught on Friday. Forest officials had shifted 12 deer to a safer place and the leopard was caught after being lured to a cage. He was then radio-tagged and released into the forest, around 150 km from the palace.
A five-year-old male leopard had scaled the compound wall of a deer park made by the present King of Vansda state, Jay Virendra Singh Solanki, near his palace. Of the 15 deer in the park, three were killed by the leopard on January 18 and 21. The King was out with his family members when the incident took place. His staffers had been taking care of the palace and the deer.
Forest officials had laid seven cages containing bait and installed 18 night vision cameras in different parts of the compound to trap the leopard. On Thursday night, the leopard scaled the compound wall again and entered the deer’s park. Spotting no deer, he entered a cage behind the palace and was trapped.
Vansda Range forest officials reached the palace, radio-tagged the leopard and examined his body. They later freed him deep into the jungle.
Range Forest Officer Narendra Gadhvi said, “We laid cages at different places with night vision cameras to track the leopard. We also shifted the deer to an open area where the leopard could not enter. On footage, we saw the leopard enter a cage to eat hen and get trapped. We radio-tagged and freed him at a distance from the palace. We have left some cages in the deer park for a few days. At present, we haven’t shifted deer back to the park.”
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