Residents of colony in Peerzadiguda keep vigil in turns throughout the night with bait
HYDERABAD: The cage in the middle of this non-descript colony at Peerzadiguda mandal on the city outskirts has become a focal point for residents. Every night, the residents take turn and volunteer to be on the vigil throughout the night, with a goat inside the cage as bait.
By 6 p.m., the windows and doors are closed. Women and children are not allowed to venture after dusk. Even domesticated animals like dogs, cats and livestock are locked inside. The 14 families in Sri Balaji Township at Peerzadiguda are in the grip of fear from attack by the big cats.
A week ago, a big cat, locals swear it was a leopard, stomped freely on the roof of a resident, K. Praveen. “The animal was so heavy that we could hear its footsteps while sleeping inside. We did not open the doors. The next day, we found the pugmarks embedded on the just plastered compound walls,” recalls Mr. Praveen.
Extensive forest cover, close to Peerzadiguda, can be found in areas like Narapally, Edulabad till Ghatkesar. The locals have repeatedly complained about a huge cat-like carnivore roaming in the night, hunting and trying to catch domesticated animals.
Wildlife officials quickly swung into action. The pugmarks were photographed and their imprints were lifted by using plaster of Paris. A huge cage was set up to bait the cat and locals were asked to keep a vigil for few days.
“We will keep the cage for a few more days. We are unable to exactly pinpoint the animal in question. The pugmarks we have collected are not clear. Definitely the animal is nocturnal in nature and there is a lot of green cover in and around Peerzadiguda,” says Forest Range Officer (North Zone) Janaki Ram.
Meanwhile, tense nights continue for the residents. “We are worried what will happen to us. All the owners are elderly and it’s tough for us to act in emergencies,” secretary to Sri Balaji Township Residential Welfare Association S. Satyanarayana says.