Leopard caught after 13-hour drama

A leopard which strayed into the Manipal University campus late on Tuesday night, was captured by Forest Department here on Wednesday afternoon.

This is the first time a leopard had strayed into densely populated area (campus holds nearly 15,000 students) in the district. Leopards used usually stray into villages near the forests.

The leopard had strayed from nearby forests around midnight on Tuesday. It was first seen by a security guard, who informed the police.

Police and Forest department personnel searched for it, but in vain. It was again seen around the staff quarters of the University at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, but again it vanished. Then it was found in the staff quarters. Lakshmi, a canteen worker said: “I was taking tea to nearby block, when I saw the leopard. I was frightened and screamed.”

The leopard went into the garden in Staff Quarters No: 66. The University informed both the police and forest officials and they rushed to the spot. Since the net and cage to trap to the leopard were not available in Udupi, the Forest Department informed its branches in Hebri and Kundapur to send them.

In the meantime, residents in the staff quarters locked the doors andho had come to catch a glimpse of the leopard.

The cage and net finally came but before the officials could set it up, the leopard jumped to the next quarters. From there it entered a house (Quarters No: 68) through the rear door which was open.

Sarojini Prafulla, resident of Quarters No: 68, said that she along with her five-year-old grandson Derrik had gone to her neighbour’s house . after learning about the leopard. “While I closed the front door, the rear door was open,” she said.

This made it easier for the personnel to trap the leopard. They took the cage close to the rear door of the quarters and the leopard ran straight into it.

It was then taken away for veterinary examination.

“It is aged between five to six years. We will release at the Bhagawati forests in Kudremukh National Park,” said Satishbaba Rai, Assistant Conservator of Forests.

Superintendent of Police M.B. Boralingaiah said that he had urged the Deputy Conservator of Forests to keep the nets and cage at the Udupi office of the Forest Department so that delay in getting them could be avoided.

K.S. Jaivittal, Estate Officer of Manipal University, said that nets and a cage were required to capture stray wild animals.

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