After playing hide and seek for five months, the leopard on the premises of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Patancheru close to Hyderabad was caught in the wee hours of Sunday.
The seven-year-old male cat, weighing about 70 kg, got trapped in the steel clutch wire snare kept when it came to eat the pork placed there as bait. A series of snares were installed at strategic locations in the vast complex. The feline walked into one of them around 4.30 in the morning and its attempt to extricate only led to its getting further entangled, forest officials said.
Following an alert from the ICRISAT security personnel, veterinary doctors of the Nehru Zoological Park rushed and tranquilised the leopard which reportedly suffered injuries in the foreleg and neck. “We have shifted it to the Zoo park for the time being.” P.K. Sharma, Chief Wildlife Officer, Telangana, told The Hindu.
The leopard remained holed up in the thick plantations at ICRISAT for the last five months and attempts to trap it proved futile. A number of cages were put up and even trap cameras were installed but the cat was clever enough not to get ensnared. There is no natural forest habitat for the animal and officials believe it survived all these days on peacocks and rabbits found aplenty in the ICRISAT. The forest officials also took the services of famous marksman, Nawab Shafat Ali Khan of Hyderabad. But after spending a few days at ICRISAT in June, he rushed to Karnataka to tackle a tiger at Bandipur.
The leopard is believed to have wandered into the ICRISAT complex after crossing the Outer Ring Road from Vikarabad-Pargi side.