Karnataka

Operation to catch leopard intensified

As part of a search operation, an abandoned old building of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rajnagar, considered a possible hideout of a stray leopard, was demolished in Hubballi on Tuesday.  

With reports of a few more sightings of a leopard in the residential localities around Nrupatunga Hills in Hubballi, the Forest Department has pressed a few more teams into service, apart from setting up traps and employing drone cameras to keep vigil.

In a bid to boost the morale of the residents, who are frightened over reports about sighting of the wild animal in the vicinity of Rajnagar, Shiradi Nagar and Nrupatunga Hill, Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad Nitesh Patil, along with Chief Conservator of Forest Manjunath Chauhan and Deputy Conservator of Forest Yashpal Kshirsagar, held a meeting with residents and elected representatives in Hubballi on Tuesday.

With reports about more sightings by the residents, the forest officials have intensified combing operations in the forests adjoining the residential localities. Fire crackers were also used to scare the wild animal away from the residential localities.

Speaking to presspersons after meeting the residents, Mr. Nitesh Patil said that extensive combing operations were being carried out by the Forest Department with the assistance of the district administration. And, all necessary assistance is being extended to the Forest Department, he said.

He said that the officials and personnel of the Forest and Police departments were working round the clock to trace and capture the wild animal. He said that the 17 acres of land adjoining the Kendriya Vidyalaya at Rajnagar, Hubballi, could be a safe haven for the wild animal as it was covered with thick vegetation.

Emphasising the need for cooperation from the general public during the operation, Mr. Manjunath Chauhan said that he will appeal to the people to restrict their movements till the leopard is captured as the wild animal will usually come out of its hideout during sunrise and sunset. Based on information on its movement, traps have been set up at five places, he said.

Mr. Yashpal Kshirsagar said that the forest personnel had found pug marks and a few have also reported sighting of the leopard and based on the available data, a map of the possible route of the animal has been chalked out. In all, 40 personnel have been deployed. For night operations, infrared drone cameras will be used, he added.

Municipal Commissioner Suresh Itnal, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ramrajan, Tahsildar Shashidhar Madyal, Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rajnagar, Ravi Rajesh and others were present. Meanwhile, locals have also formed a few teams and are warning people and diverting them through alternative routes.

Demolition

After getting requisite permission from the competent authorities in New Delhi governing the administration of Kendriya Vidyalayas, the administration has begun the work of demolishing the old structure of the Kendriya Vidyalaya which is believed to be one of the possible hideouts of the leopard.

The old building was abandoned soon after the school was shifted to the new building and the proposal for demolition of the old building had not received the requisite permission. After the meeting with residents, the Deputy Commissioner said that the administration will take up the demolition in the interest of the safety of people by getting permission from the competent authorities. Accordingly, the demolition began in the evening.

School holiday

In view of the leopard sightings, the district administration has declared a holiday for 12 schools located on the foothills of Nrupatunga Hill, including the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Rajnagar, where classes remain suspended since Monday.

Mr. Nitesh Patil has ordered the closure of Janata High School, government primary schools at Shiradi Nagar, Chamundeshwari Nagar, Santosh Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Vishweshwar Nagar, the government high school in Vishweshwar Nagar, J.K. English Medium School, D.K. Public School, Chaitra Kannada Convent, V.S. Pillai Primary School and N.K. Thakkar English Medium School till the completion of the operation to capture the leopard.

He has ordered the schools to hold online classes for the time being.

Sightings

On Monday evening, Anilkumar Koparde and his family are said to have seen the leopard climbing down from a tree next to their house, which is on the foothills of Nrupatunga Hill. There were also reports about a resident of Shiradi Nagar having seen a leopard carrying away a piglet.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 7:42:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/operation-to-catch-leopard-intensified/article36594580.ece

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