A leopard was rescued from a well in a colony, near the Madakkara beach, at Kannookkara in Vadakara in the district here on Wednesday.
The villagers spotted the leopard in the well around 9.30 a.m. and after a marathon rescue-operation by the Forest Department officials, Fire and Rescue Services and police personnel, the young feline was hauled out by 7 p.m.
Local people who spotted the wild cat alerted the police in the morning itself. By then, hundreds of people from the rural areas thronged the coastal hamlet to get a glimpse of the animal trapped. Though the water level in the 18-metre well was low, the water was pumped out during the rescue mission.
Arun Zachariah, forest veterinary surgeon from Wayanad, tranquillized the animal by firing two shots around 5.15 p.m. The animal did not fall unconscious as the first shot missed the target, he said. He was then lowered into the well with the help of a net to ensure that the leopard was unconscious. Subsequently, the animal was pulled out using a net. The groggy leopard was then shifted to a cage that was kept ready for the purpose.Transferred
Later, a medical team examined the four-year-old leopard to make sure that the animal was not injured. The caged leopard was then transferred to the Vanasree Forestry Complex at Mathottam, near Beypore.
Once the animal recovers, it will either be released into the forests in Wayanad or taken to the zoo in Thrissur. The Forest Department officials are awaiting a decision from the Chief Wildlife Warden in Thiruvananthapuram.A mystery
Forest officials are clueless on how the animal reached the seaside village. Wild animals usually stray into human settlements scouring for food. Previously, leopards had been spotted and captured along the riverbanks in the district. Possibly, the animal could have jumped into a lorry or a truck that was coming from the Wayanad side and got trapped inside the vehicle before moving out in the neighbourhood.
The police had a difficult time controlling the crowd that thronged the hamlet from morning and normalcy was restored only after the animal was shifted to the forestry complex.