A leopard which had been stalking and preying on cattle in the interior parts of Atmakur mandal was caught alive by the Forest Department officials, here on Wednesday.
Following complaints by villagers that their sheep were being killed by wild animals, forest officials lay a trap by placing a sheep in a cage. In the wee hours of Wednesday near Kothagattu village on the outskirts of Hanamkonda, the animal was caught. Soon after it realised it was trapped, the leopard tried to escape by biting on the bone and lost two of its teeth. It also tried to dig up and damaged the wooden floor of the cage and suffered injuries on its limbs.
Forest officials, led by Divisional Forest Officer (wildlife) Ch. Ganga Reddy, rangers Raja Rao and Venugopala Chary, accompanied by veterinary doctor Praveen visited the spot.
Mr. Ganga Reddy said that the shocked leopard in a bid to escape had sustained injuries to its teeth and gums which were bleeding.
Shifted to Hyderabad
Though local forest officials, in consultation with Hyderabad-based Principal Conservator of Forests (wildlife) A.V. Joseph, had initially decided to leave the trapped animal inside the thick forests of Tadwai mandal in Warangal district, they later decided to shift it to Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on seeing the injury to the leopard’s teeth. The general health of the leopard is said to be normal.
The local zoo, Vana Vignana Kendram, lacked the facilities to accommodate the leopard or any other wild animals.
The villagers said that sometime ago a shepherd from the village had spotted the leopard from a distance and had run back to inform other villagers. But by the time they tried to spot the animal, it had made a good escape.
The leopard had been preying on the sheep, buffaloes and other animals and was successfully escaping the villagers by hiding behind the hillocks abutting the habitation.