Shrinking habitat drives them to concrete jungle

Nivedita Ganguly

Many cases of starving wild animals going on urban trek

A panther that strays on to the road is hit by a car near zoo on Saturday

Eight months ago, a panther had created scare in the suburbs

VISAKHAPATNAM: Frequent incidences of panthers straying into the city limits from the Kambalakonda Reserve Forest Area underscore the rapidly shrinking wildlife habitat, forcing the animals to foray into human habitation. According to official estimates, there are about six to eight panthers present in the reserve forest area. Saturday’s incident of a panther that strayed on to the road and was hit by a car on the National Highway near Indira Gandhi Zoological Park ascertains this fact. The panther was running across the highway when it hit the front right portion of the car. “The animal did not receive any injuries as no blood stains were spotted on the scene,” zoo curator Rahul Pandey told The Hindu. Forest officials and guards who examined the spot found the presence of faecal matter of the animal near the car and several scratch marks on the road.

Forays into zoo

Forest officials recount a number of incidents of starving wild animals going on urban trek. Panthers have often strayed into the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in recent past. Carcasses of deer were found in the deer safari zone of the zoo park on many occasions. Only about eight months ago, in a similar incident a sub-adult panther that had created havoc in the city suburbs was captured by the forest officials. The big cat, which is now kept in the zoo, had created scare among the residents of the locality after snatching several goats and attacked a farmer and a woman labourer. Incidentally, the other three male panthers in the zoo were also captured from the wild.