Forest Department launches search operations in the area

Panic gripped residents of Kommerahalli on the outskirts of the city on Friday morning after a leopardess and two cubs were spotted in the area. Forest Department personnel have launched a search in and around the village.

Two village residents saw the leopardess and her cubs near a paddy field at 6.30 a.m. and informed the forest officials. However, the felines vanished in the bushes after people raised an alarm, sources said.

Officials from the Forest, Police and Revenue departments rushed to the village and launched a combing operation and stepped up vigil.

“The leopards might have entered human habitats in search of food and water. Pug marks have been found at several places,” Mohammed Jaffer, Range Forest Officer, told The Hindu.

The department has also observed and collected leopard droppings, he said.

People residing at Kommerahalli and Chikka Mandya are in a state of panic. However, forest officials said “the leopards have not lifted any cattle or attacked humans.” There was no reason for the village residents to be concerned about their safety, Mr. Jaffer said.

“The department wants to catch the leopardess and her cubs. So, it has placed a cage with live bait in the agricultural field where they were sighted, he said.

“We have posted personnel to tranquilise the animals. However, we will wait for at least two to three days for the leopardess and her cubs to fall into the trap. If these attempts fail, we will use tranquilizers to catch them,” another forest department officer said.

The department has deployed personnel to monitor the movement of the mother and her cubs.

Tahsildar B.K. Mamatha visited the village.