A leopard, which had fallen into a well, managed to get out after a ladder was lowered in at Marne village, around 10 km from Udupi, on Saturday.
The two-year-old wild cat fell into a 35-ft-deep well, near the house of Sadananda Nayak in Boginadi area. After falling in the well, the leopard settled on a small stone platform.
Mr. Sadananda Nayak’s wife, Jayanti, told The Hindu that on hearing a sound, she peeped inside the well at around 3.30 p.m.
“To my shock, I saw a leopard sitting on the stone platform. I was frightened. This is the first time this has happened here. I immediately called my son Rajesh and told him,” she said. Mr. Rajesh Nayak, who is employed in the pharmacy department of Kasturba Medical College, said that he informed the Forest Department.
The department personnel who arrived at the spot around 4 p.m. surveyed the well and then constructed a 35-ft wooden ladder. By then, the news about the leopard had spread and a large number of people gathered at the spot. The department personnel got the crowd to move away.
After the ladder was lowered in, the leopard unsuccessfully made two attempts to climb it. It managed to get out on the third attempt around 6 p.m.
Some domestic animals disappeared from the village around two months ago.
According to Mr. Nayak, people had spotted a leopard occasionally for the last two years.
Harish Nayak, who is in the catering business, said: “Two cows, two calves and a few dogs disappeared from the village two months ago.”
“Leopards do not require dense vegetation. This leopard must have come in search of easy prey such as dogs and other domestic animals. The nearest forest is at Yembattu Badagabettu, which is about 8 km from here,” Prakash Poojary, Range Forest Officer, said.
There were reports of sightings of leopards in nearby areas such as Belle and Innanje. “We put up cages to trap a leopard there five or six months ago, but we were unsuccessful,” Mr. Poojary said.