T.N. Forest Dept to deploy thermal imaging drone to track elusive carnivore on the prowl in Mayiladuthurai

Pug marks of the animal suggest that it is a leopard; the drone is expected to help track the animal’s movements in order to capture it, say Forest Department officials

Updated - April 04, 2024 03:12 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2024 02:16 pm IST - TIRUCHI

The operation underway to track an elusive carnivore, suspected to be a leopard, on the prowl in Mayildathurai.

The operation underway to track an elusive carnivore, suspected to be a leopard, on the prowl in Mayildathurai. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Forest Department has planned to deploy a thermal imaging drone to track the movements and location of a suspected carnivore on the prowl near Mayiladuthurai town, even as field-level teams have been mounting a round-the-clock vigil.

Pug marks of an animal found in and around Mayiladuthurai town suggest that it could be a leopard. Video grabs from surveillance cameras placed at different spots have revealed that it is an adult carnivore, said a Forest Department official. 

Officials are puzzled as to how the carnivore made its way into Mayiladuthurai as there are no hillocks or reserve forest anywhere near the bustling town. The animal was first spotted near Semmankulam in Koranad in the heart of Mayiladuthurai in the early hours, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. It is believed to have moved towards Arokianathapuram a few kilometres from the town. A few pug marks have been found that suggest the carnivore is a leopard, said District Forest Officer, Nagapattinam, Abhishek Tomar.

The Forest Department has deployed field-level teams to track the movement of the animal besides carrying out patrolling on Wednesday night and Thursday. They have also made announcements to the general public to remain vigilant. 

The Forest Department has set up a control room near Mayiladuthurai. Experts from the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Coimbatore with camera traps and cages are expected to join the Forest Department teams to try and capture the animal.

Leopards normally emerge in the evening and night hours. Hence, the department has planned to deploy a thermal imaging drone to track the movement of the elusive animal. The thermal imaging drone, which is to come from Dharmapuri would be useful for surveillance during the night hours to trace the animal’s location, Mr. Tomar.

In view of panic, a holiday was declared for seven schools in Mayiladuthurai town on Thursday as a precautionary measure. Police protection was provided to four other schools to enable students write the ongoing class 10 examination, said official sources. 

Police sources said personnel were advising the general public in and around Koranad town to remain extremely cautious in view of the animal’s movement and to desist from sending their children out alone in open areas. Mobile teams of the Mayiladuthurai district police are also maintaining a vigil.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.