Rajahmundry: A panther that strayed into Lalitha Nagar in the town caused panic on Tuesday. Though the wild cat has been captured and later released into forest, the incident has raised many questions over the reasons for straying of the panther into the concrete jungle.
Forest officials and wild life experts attribute it to the man-made disturbance.
“Blastings being carried out in the Polavaram project area are creating a lot of disturbancein the forest and this may be the reason for the animal losing its bearings,” said P. Prabhu of Asian Wildlife Foundation.
According to him, panther is a highly adaptable animal and it preys on stray dogs and monkeys in any area.
In search of food it will walk miles together leaving its usual corridors and Maredumilli forest area and adjacent Papi Hills are the two areas where tigers, leopards and panthers usually are usually spotted.
He says tigers usually do not come out of their habitats.
The Papi Hills sanctuary with 550 sq km is home to around 50 tigers. According to District Forest Officer Ananda Mohan, the forest census of 2004 revealed that there are four tigers and 40 leopards in East Godavari, excluding the Papi Hills Sanctuary. The DFO admitted that deforestation is one of the reasons for dislocation of wild animals.
“Wild animals are panicking due to poaching, quarrying, blasting, deforestation and smuggling,” said a forest official on condition of anonymity.