Unruly crowds scare leopard, delay capture

Unruly crowds scare leopard, delay capture

Though the operation to capture the leopard that entered a school in Kundalahalli on Sunday began at 6 am, chaotic crowds meant that it took around 12 hours to finally subdue the animal.

Deepika Bajpai, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru Urban said: “Initially, only around 10 to 12 people were marked for duty to capture the leopard. However, with the chaos that ensued, another 30 had to be pressed into action.” She added that the operation could have been a smooth and straightforward affair since the leopard had gone into hiding. However, people blocked the leopard’s passage and sabotaged the operation, which lasted the whole day.

At the school, the leopard was trying to escape after it roamed into the kitchen, swimming pool area and other areas. Later, it hid in a bushy area near a eucalyptus plantation outside the school. However, after people started shouting and throwing stones at it, the leopard rushed back into the school, said officials. There is a slum just outside the school.

When officials reached the school, they found the leopard hiding in a room. When they tried bringing it out, it attacked them. 

Experts said parts of Whitefield have boulders and bushes where leopards are known to stray occasionally.  

A study by the Forest department says leopards are found on 50 per cent of the state’s area. Though leopards are found as much in rural areas as in forests, they seldom cause any problems as they hide themselves, say experts.

Vidya Athreya, an ecologist who has been studying human-leopard conflicts, said incidents like the one on Sunday are bound to happen as leopards roam the fringe areas. “It is however not a problem because they have coexisted with humans for many years. There is a need to create awareness among people and the department to work in coordination to avoid conflict,” she said.

Past incidents
Barely 20 days ago, visitors spotted a wild tiger in the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), 25 km from the City.

In July 2015, tourists visiting the BBP spotted a wild tiger near Mulegundekere, where nearly 35 tigers have been kept. It is believed that the tiger had strayed from the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.

In June 2014, residents of an apartment on Kanakapura Road had spotted a leopard camping with her cubs on a hillock close to their dwelling. They immediately reported it to the forest department, who drove them away using crackers.

A few years ago, a leopard was found dead on Nice Road on the outskirts of the City. It was apparently mowed down by a speeding vehicle.

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