Andhra Pradesh

Leopard’s day out in Rayadurgam

The leopard caught by personnel of the Forest Department at Rayadurgam in Anantapur district on Thursday. —PHOTO: R.V.S. PRASAD

The leopard caught by personnel of the Forest Department at Rayadurgam in Anantapur district on Thursday. —PHOTO: R.V.S. PRASAD  

Thousands of people curbed and animal was caged by Forest staff

As if to indicate the severity of the problem of degrading forests and eco systems in Anantapur district, a leopard wandered for the first time ever into the Rayadurgam town on Thursday, sending a chill down the spine of many a resident.

At around 12 p.m., a kid belonging to a colony on the outskirts of the town went close to a bush while playing with his mates, the day being a holiday.

“He came back running like a crazy person, gasped for breath and finally shouted out ‘Puli, Puli’ (leopards are called Chiruta Puli in Telugu),” said Hanumantha Rayudu living in the colony near the Mee Seva centre on Kanekal Road.

As residents of the nearby colony came out running upon an alarm being raised, the leopard, local people told The Hindu , simply ran to a tree and climbed it in seconds.

Even as it sat out in the branches, people virtually surrounded the tree, holding sticks, stones and other equipment when the police arrived. “When we arrived there, several hundreds had already surrounded what looked to be a confused leopard,” said Inspector of Police of Rayadurgam. Soon the forest guards arrived and started their effort to capture the leopard first by making the people leave the immediate vicinity, apparently to put the leopard at ease to contemplate getting down from the tree. “As the crowd was controlled and cleared on one side, the leopard was made to come down and was captured with the large animal net available with our animal rescue team. The animal was immediately sent off in the rescue vehicle to our office in Kalyandurgam town, where it was shifted into a cage,” said Chandrasekhar Reddy, District Forest Officer.

The leopard, Mr. Reddy said, was aged around 1.5 years and could be categorised as a sub-adult, which had wandered into the town in search of a kill from the nearby hillock.

In search of food

“The leopard was probably attracted to the presence of a drove of pigs in the vicinity. We also found a dead domestically found pig eaten by the leopard. A dog was also attacked by it,” said Mr. Reddy. The forest officials discounted the possibility of the existence of a second leopard even as they set up guard at the location as a precautionary measure.

The captured animal is set to be released into the wild after an examination by a doctor tomorrow, he added.

The fact that leopards continue to consider human settlements for finding food indicates a degradation of the food chain in the forest.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:26:30 AM |

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