Attracted by the cries of a puppy, a panther entered a house in Kadur
The people of Kadur village, on the fringes of Kadur Reserve Forest, around 33 km from Udupi, had an unexpected visitor in the early hours of Wednesday.
A panther made its way into Kamalamma Shetty’s house, attracted by the cries of her two-month-old puppy.
As several puppies had disappeared in the last month, Ms. Shetty (70), whose house is near the banks of the Sita, had kept the puppy in the bathroom for the night.
At around 2 a.m., the panther, hearing the puppy’s cries, jumped on the boiler kept outside and crawled into the bathroom through the space between the Mangalore tiled roof and the wall.
The frightened puppy hid behind the washing machine, and the panther was unable to do more than scratch its neck.
Sound woke them up
However, the panther’s roaring and puppy’s whimpering woke up Ms. Shetty and her help, Sheena Markala (80).
“I opened the bathroom door a little, looked inside and then locked the door,” he said. Ms. Shetty, who was running a fever, said: “I was frightened by the sound coming from the bathroom and stayed inside my room.”
Relative’s help sought
After Mr. Markala informed her about the panther and the puppy, she called up her relative Prakash Shetty. Mr. Shetty said that he reached the house around 2.10 a.m. and through the small bathroom window saw the cornered puppy and the panther.
As nothing could be done at that time, Mr. Shetty waited and called up the officials of the Forest Department at Mandarti village, around 8 km from Kadur, at 8 a.m.
Two forest guards arrived at the house in around an hour and called up their superiors and requested a cage. The cage arrived at Kadur at 10 a.m. along with two more forest guards. They placed the cage near the bathroom door and made loud noises and drove it into the cage. The process took around 30 minutes.
A large number of people from the village braved the rain to see the panther being captured.
The panther was brought to Udupi at around 11.45 a.m., examined by a veterinary surgeon and later released at the Kudremukh National Park, around 75 km from here.
Many pups, cats disappeared
According to Sanjeeva Puthran, a tailor, many pups and even cats had disappeared from the village in the last month.
“The panther has not been able to go near the cows or calves because the cow sheds are locked in the night. It is scary to think that there was a panther around,” he said.
T. Kushala Shetty, Ms. Shetty’s neighbour, said that he got up after he heard Mr. Markala shouting. “I thought Ms. Shetty must be ill so my wife and I went running [to find out]. Then we came to know the matter. We are used to seeing wild animals around so I wasn’t frightened.”
However, all the village residents were in agreement that this was the first time they had seen a panther in their village.
Prakash Poojary, Range Forest Officer, said: “It is rare to find a panther in Udupi district. We do not know how it found its way to Kadur.”
Mr. Puthran recalled that last year, a leopard had injured a person and taken away some calves from the village.