In spite of the constant efforts, the forest department and wildlife specialists have failed to catch the man-eater leopard in Mysuru and four prowling leopards in Bengaluru. As the operation continued yesterday, the panic was a bit large in the localities.
In Bengaluru, the forest department has asked the people to reach home before it becomes dark and not to send their children outside to play. It has also been suggested not to move around or come out of the house alone.
The authorities are carrying out an all-out search operation to catch a man-eater leopard that had killed two persons in T. Narasipura taluk of Mysuru district. A total of 13 teams of more than 130 people have been pushed into the operation.
For the past four days, the operation was carried out in more than 20 villages of the T. Narasipura region. The team has 16 cages, 20 cameras, and trap drone cameras. Combing operations have also been launched to track down the man-eater leopard.
On October 1, the leopard killed a youth who was clicking a selfie at Mallikarjuna hill, and on December 1, it attacked and killed a young woman who was attending nature’s call in S. Kebbehundi.
After the attacks, officials issued a shoot-at-sight order to kill a leopard that is hunting human beings.
Leopards don’t usually roam into human habitats, says conservation biologist Sanjay Gubbi, reported Deccan Herald.
“They can survive in a wide variety of habitats including human-modified areas (like maize and sugarcane fields) because of their adaptability. They require just about 4 kg of food a day. These factors help them survive even in areas with a high human density,” he explains.
Steps to follow If you see one (Source: Deccan Herald)
- The conservation biologist has some suggestions for residents sighting big cats. “Don’t panic or run. Stay calm and walk away slowly. Don’t immediately sit down or hide when you see a leopard,” he says.
- S S Ravishankar, the deputy conservator of forests, says one must maintain a safe distance, at least 10 meters, and move away slowly from the animal.
- “Don’t risk around or disturb the animal by throwing stones. Since the leopard is a shy animal, it will move away by itself,” he says.
- It is best not to crowd around a wild cat. “If the leopard is sighted in a farm or a building, don’t circulate videos and photographs, as this could encourage people to crowd around it,” says Gubbi.
- Leopards do sometimes enter buildings. In such situations, quietly close the door and inform the forest department, he says.
- If you are on foot and spot a leopard at close quarters, give it 30 seconds to a minute to come out of the initial surprise, and then walk back calmly and slowly. “Always keep an eye on the leopard,” says Gubbi.
- Those living on farms must take precautions once an alert is announced by the authorities.
- If you have sheep, goats, and poultry, or pets like dogs, secure them in an enclosed space at night, says Gubbi.
- Keep your house and the area around it well-lit. If the grid power is unavailable in your area, use solar lights, he says.
- Another piece of advice is about hygiene. Dispose of meat and poultry waste properly. “Throwing them in the open attracts dogs, and they are prey for leopards,” says Gubbi.
- If you have a farm where you need to switch on the pump at night, explore technological solutions such as SIM card-activated mobile starters, he says.
- Avinash Krishnan, wildlife biologist and director of A Rocha India, an NGO that works in the areas of environmental education and conservation, says leopards are “the most resilient of all large cats” in India.
- “With technology advancements, it is easier to spot them. Also if prey (cattle and dogs) is easily available, they could come into such areas more frequently,” he says. Those who go out at night must travel in a group or carry a torch and whistle. “In most cases, the leopard will retract by itself,” he says.
- Make sure to inform the forest authorities if you spot a leopard. “It is important to make sure the right information is passed on, as one must keep the safety of the animal and people in mind,” he says.
- Whom to call? Forest department’s Aranya helpline — 1926