Forest officials rescued a leopard that strayed into Chinnathammalseruvu village at Mathur near Pernambut, on Thursday morning.

The officials said that several villagers surrounded the animal, giving it no chance to escape, and went to the extent of capturing it themselves.

The female leopard, aged about two-and-a-half years, was spotted in a coconut plantation belonging to Nagaraj. The Forest Department personnel attached to Gudiyatham range were informed in the morning.

“The team was sent there to monitor the movement of the leopard. We initially planned to drive the leopard into the forest area, which is about half a kilometre from the village but around 300 to 350 villagers had encircled the animal at the spot. It had no way to go out and was stressed. Ultimately, it went to the coconut plantation. We sought police support to disperse the crowd,” said District Forest Officer, Vellore, T.V. Manjunatha.

The official said that the villagers went to the extent of capturing the animal themselves by covering it with a gunny bag and tied its legs using ropes.

A veterinarian was brought to examine the animal. He said it was free from external injuries and looked healthy.

The animal was released into the Sarangal Reserve Forest.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National