Panther that attacked girl trapped, sent to forest

V.S. Palaniappan
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Fury in chains: Panther trapped in Valparai on Friday. -Photo: K. Ananthan
Fury in chains: Panther trapped in Valparai on Friday. -Photo: K. Ananthan

Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) officials on Friday trapped a three-year-old male panther ( Panthera Pardus ) in a cage set up at Mudis Bazar in Valparai area in 36 hours after the animal attacked an eight-year-old girl. On Wednesday (November 23) at 5.30 p.m. the panther attacked Kausik Priya (8), daughter of Mariappan and Muniammal, when she was walking via Mudis Bazar.

The animal pounced on her from a road-side bush. But her brave brother Gajendra Prabhu (13) grappled with the panther and saved his sister. The girl sustained injuries on her thigh. The Forest Department immediately set up cages at three places - Mukkottumudi, Thaimudi and Mudis Bazar - with meat to lure the panther. It walked into the cage set up at Mudis Bazar at 5.40 a.m. on Friday. Cages were also set up in and around the plantations of Bombay Burma Trading Corporation. A team comprising forest veterinarian Dr. Manoharan, Ranger Officers S. Thangaraj Panneerselvam (Udumalpet), Xavier Arockiaraj (Manomboly) and Lakshmanasamy (Valparai) sedated the panther using Ketamine through blow dart at 3.37 p.m.

The panther was released into deep jungles from where it cannot enter human habitations. Valparai areas witness frequent man-animal conflicts. Residents there said in recent times there were eight to nine incidents of panther attacking people. In February last year, a panther mauled a school girl from Bangalore. Bombay Burma Trading Corporation vice-president (plantations) K.A. Bharath Mandanna gave Kausik Priya's brother Gajendra Prabhu a reward of Rs. 5,000 for his bravery.

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