2nd Leopard Stalks Temple Footpath – Trapped


TIRUMALA, August 23, 2010

The second panther that was captured near ‘Gali Gopuram’ on the Tirumala ghat road on Monday. Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

It gave forest personnel the slip a couple of days ago

After a wait of over four weeks, wildlife authorities captured the second leopard that had been causing panic in Tirumala in the early hours of Monday.

The leopard landed itself in one of the traps set up by the authorities in the vicinity of the Gali Gopuram. The trap was laid with a dog as live bait.

A couple of days ago, the animal — which had been stalking devotees along the footpath to the temple — gave forest personnel the slip when it went into the fenced Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) deer park, halfway on the footpath, by clinging on to the swaying branches of bordering trees. It vanished in the dark after the on-duty forest personnel scared it away.

Following the capture of the leopard, wildlife authorities shifted it to the S.V. Zoo Park at Tirupati after giving it a tranquilliser shot.

Speaking to The Hindu chief conservator of forests (Tirupati Wildlife Management Circle) P. Mallikarjuna Rao said a final decision regarding the relocation of the animal would be taken after doctors completed the required medical tests.

‘Continue restrictions’

Though the ‘trapping’ operations had stopped with the leopard’s capture, Mr. Rao said the TTD should continue restrictions on the trekking hours of pilgrims during the night so as to facilitate the free movement and breeding of nocturnal animals.

Mr. Rao emphasised the need to shift the deer park to another place.

Asked whether the captured leopard was the same one that was suspected to be on the prowl on the footpath, he said the screening tests vis-à-vis the matching of the pug marks, gender and age were in progress.

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