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Leopard remains elusive, combing operation on in T. Narsipur

As many as 74 camera traps and 18 cages have been installed in the taluk after back-to-back incidents of leopard attacks

January 24, 2023 08:35 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:19 am IST - MYSURU

Forest officers and staff during the combing operations for capturing the elusive leopard, at Horalahalli in T. Narasipura taluk on Tuesday, January 24.

Forest officers and staff during the combing operations for capturing the elusive leopard, at Horalahalli in T. Narasipura taluk on Tuesday, January 24. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

No leopard movement has been caught in camera traps that are installed in villages, facing the threat of leopard attacks, in T. Narasipur taluk. Efforts to trap the elusive killer leopard have been intensified after an 11-year-old boy was killed in an attack reported on January 21 at Horalahalli.

The back-to-back episodes of leopard attacks that claimed two human lives recently have put the district administration on alert with the forest staff on their toes to capture the leopard as soon as possible for bringing respite to the unnerved villagers.

The boy, Jayanth, was attacked and killed by the leopard when he went out of the house at Horalahalli on January 21 while 60-year-old Siddamma was attacked when she went to fetch firewood close to her house at Kannanayakanahalli on January 20. Two students – Manjunath and Meghana – were killed in separate leopard attacks last year.

Malathi Priya, Chief Conservator of Forest, Mysuru Circle said combing operations have been continued but no leopard movement has been registered in any camera trap installed in the taluk.

In total, 18 cages and 74 camera traps have been deployed to capture the leopard that is on the prowl. As many as 13 teams consisting of 90 staff are on the pursuit of the feline.

The villagers have urged the authorities to clear overgrown shrubbery on the roadsides and around the villages that have come under leopard attacks. They have complained that the dense undergrowth has become hideouts for the leopards which attacked and killed humans. The large tracts of land where the weeds are dense needs to be cleared as a safety measure, they demanded.

When asked about the overgrown vegetation that are turning out to be perfect hideouts for leopards, Minister in-charge of Mysuru district S.T. Somashekar, who visited the families of Jayanth and Siddamma on Tuesday, January 24, promised to look into the matter and ask the authorities to ensure that the vegetation was cleared.

The carcass of a partially eaten cattle was found in a farm field at Siddanahundi in the taluk on Monday night. This triggered worry among the villagers who claimed that a leopard was reportedly spotted. A search was carried out in the vicinity but there was no trace of the feline. Nevertheless, the forest department confirmed that no leopard movement was caught in 74 camera traps installed in the affected villages.

The operations that were carried out at Mallikarjunaswamy Betta in T. Narasipur taluk in December last after the second killing were a lengthy one and a lot of effort had to be put in to entrap the leopard which was a smart one and avoided cages many a times but was caught in camera traps.

A strong forest team is on the pursuit of the leopard and the authorities are hopeful of capturing the wild cat. The forest department has issued do’s and don’ts for the villages in the wake of the leopard attacks.

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