Search continues for leopard near Avinashi

The search operation by the Forest Department to locate and capture the leopard, which attacked two residents and one anti-poaching watcher near Avinashi in Tiruppur district, continued for the second day on Tuesday as efforts to tranquillise the animal were carried out.

According to the officials present in the field, Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) S. Ramasubramanian visited Pappankulam village in Avinashi taluk on Tuesday morning to review the operation. He was accompanied by ATR Deputy Director (Udumalpet) S.N. Thejasvi.

Around 100 personnel from the Forest Department, including Assistant Conservators of Forest M. Krishnasamy and K. Ganeshram and forest range officers from Tiruppur district, were at the location where the leopard attack took place on Monday.

The location, which comprises a coconut grove and a maize farm, was combed using camera traps and drone camera on Tuesday. However, the leopard was not sighted till afternoon, the officials said.

Mr. Krishnasamy said the search operations were halted from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, during which the location was monitored closely by the personnel. Two cages with meat and water have been prepared and nets have been placed around the maize field to trap the leopard, he said. “We will continue our search operation for the next two to three days,” he said.

Veterinary Officer of Coimbatore Forest Division A. Sukumar and Veterinary Assistant Surgeon of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve K. Rajesh Kumar led the efforts to tranquillise the carnivore.

The Forest Department suspects the leopard might have escaped from the maize field in the early hours of Tuesday, hence the personnel have alerted the residents of the Pappankulam village to report any sighting of the leopard. “We are alert and vigilant to the public’s response,” he said.

The big cat attacked daily wage labourers Varadharaj (60) and Maran (65) at the maize farm in Pappankulam around 7 a.m. Monday.

Following this, it attacked anti-poaching watcher Manikandan around 5.30 p.m. when it was sighted by the Forest Department.

On Tuesday, members of NGOs Coimbatore Wildlife Conservation Trust, Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust and Nature Conservation Society, along with honorary wildlife warden Nandhini Raveendran, visited the village.

A group of personnel from the Forest Department went to Perumanallur on Tuesday evening following an input from the Tiruppur District Police that the leopard was sighted near a private bakery within the limits of Perumanallur police station. Officials said the sighting would be ascertained by the personnel. Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police – Tiruppur district G. Shashank Sai appealed to the public in a tweet to take precautions and inform the authorities “in case of a confirmed sighting” of the leopard.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 11:30:26 pm |