A male panther was found dead at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) here on Monday morning. Forest Department officials said its nails, skin and teeth were intact and there were no wounds on the body.

The panther was suspected to have got stuck in a trap that was routinely laid for wild pigs moving on the SHAR premises.

Knife attached to trap

There was a knife attached to the trap but no wounds were found on the body of the panther which was estimated to be seven years old, C. Parthananda Prasad, Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife Division, Sullurupeta, said. Veterinary doctors from Sullurupeta conducted a post-mortem.

The staff of SHAR were the first to spot the panther's body on a tree near the sewerage treatment plant. They alerted the forest and horticulture wing officials, who in turn informed the DFO, Sullurupeta.

Endangered animal

Panther is an endangered animal and included under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for absolute protection. Because of this, top forest officials are monitoring the investigation. Additional Principal Conservator of Forests D.K. Panderi and conservator of forests P.V. Chalapathi Rao, who were on an official visit to the Pulicat lake sanctuary, also visited the spot.

Officials said that the exact cause of panther's death would be known only after they received the post-mortem report.

Mr. Parthananda Prasad said that they had visited SHAR six months ago on receiving information about the movement of tigers in the forest there. They spotted pug marks of a panther but not a tiger. They had no information about the presence of more wild cats as no census was conducted in the SHAR forest.