Margao: A six-year-old male leopard was trapped at Kaknamoddi-Cuncolim on Tuesday morning and handed over to the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary.
Following a complaint filed by one Samson Fernandes, who claimed that his pet dog had been attacked by the wildcat, forest officials together with the wildlife rescue squad succeeded – after three days of trying – to successfully ensnare the 2 m-long leopard on Tuesday.
This is the fifth leopard to be caught by the forest department in the last two-and-a-half years in the area between Deusa-Chinchinim and Cuncolim in South Goa.
On receiving Fernandes’ complaint on August 21, members of squad, which is attached to the deputy conservator of forests office in Margao, laid a trap for the leopard.
The team comprised Julio Quadros, Benhail Antao and Suresh Manyar, under directions of range forest officer Raju B Desai. Round foresters Datta and Paryeker and forest guards Reis Magos Dias and Samarth also assisted the team.
After giving the squad the slip for three days the wildcat finally attacked the prey kept to attract him and was trapped around 5.45am on Tuesday.
“We saw the leopard very often over the last two years. But it had not harmed anybody, so we were not worried,” Fernandes told TOI.
“However, over the last two months around 11 dogs have mysteriously disappeared. Then the leopard attacked my pet dog three days ago. I thought, okay, now it’s time to approach the forest department for help,” Fernandes in whose courtyard the leopard was trapped said.
“Not only dogs but many piglets have also disappeared. We did not realize at first that it was the leopard who was responsible. Only when we saw the dog being attacked did we realize the danger,” said Maria Fernandes, an elderly resident.
John Fernandes from Margao who had rushed all the way to Kaknamoddi-Cuncolim to have a look at the trapped leopard said, “You can’t really blame the wildcats. After all we human beings have encroached on forest areas for our own benefit, and have disturbed their habitats. Wild animals have no other alternative but to enter residential areas for food.” In March this year an eight-year-old leopard, believed to have been run over by a train, was found dead on the Konkan railway tracks at Ghodevhal-Balli also in South Goa.
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