A leopard, trapped allegedly by workers in a vegetable farm of Chenduara estate in Munnar on Thursday, died on Friday due to injuries in the abdomen.

Munnar Wildlife Warden Sunil Babu said that forest officials received information about the trapped leopard on Thursday afternoon and a team led by the Divisional Forest Officer, Munnar, and veterinary surgeon V. Selvom reached the spot. It was also decided to remove the animal to a safe area after administering medicines on Friday morning. A wildlife watcher was also posted in the area.

However, before the forest team arrived by 9 a.m. on Friday, it died of injuries apparently caused by the rough iron cage. A post-mortem examination showed fatal injuries on its abdomen. Mr. Babu said that an inquiry would be conducted on the circumstances that led to the animal's death and the way it was trapped in the rusty cage. “If wild animals enter human habitations, the forest office must be alerted to it so that the animal can be released safely back into the forest,” he said.

SPCA reaction

Meanwhile, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) demanded a proper inquiry into the cause of the leopard's death. In a memorandum submitted to Forest Minister Benoy Viswom, SPCA president M.N. Jayachandran said that the failure of the wildlife officials to remove the leopard in time could have resulted in its death.

He also said that trapping of wild animals by the public was illegal. In an earlier occasion, a leopard which entered a residential area in Thodupuzha was killed by local people. Those who are behind such acts should be punished, he said. “It must be investigated whether there were mafia groups engaged in trapping wild animals near forest areas,” he added.

Procession taken out

Green Leaf, an environment group here also demanded action against those involved in the trapping of the leopard. C.P. Roy, its member, said that only proper legal action would prevent recurrence of such incidents. Environment activists held a silent procession in Munnar town and demanded strong action against the culprits.

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