No sight or sign of leopard, search op to end today

With no direct sight or sign of the straying leopard in Whitefield, Varthur and Nallurahalli in eastern Bengaluru, the forest department will wait for another day and call off the operation to capture the animal. 

But the two cages — one placed behind Vibgyor High school in Thubarahalli and another kept six kilometres away at Nallurahalli — will be stationed there for two to three more days, Dipika Bajpai, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru Urban, told Deccan Herald. 

Forest officials will perambulate the area and keep checking the cages regularly. The idea of keeping the cage was not to scare people, she added. Four teams of 20 forest officials each have been deployed since Tuesday night to perambulate the areas day and night. Police too had posted law and order and reserve personnel besides sniffer dogs. Based on tip-off, they patrol on foot for around 15 km looking for any signs of the leopard. 

According to Bajpai, the forest staff will be withdrawn on Saturday as local residents have become aware. The situation should get back to normal by Monday.

“If the leopard is sighted or there are any signs of it, people should inform us. They can contact me on Twitter (@dipika_bajpai) or email (dipikabajpai48@gmail.com),” she said. 

Assistant Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru South, S Krupanidhi, confirmed that no leopard pug marks had been sighted since Wednesday evening. If the leopard is hungry and thirsty, it will return. That’s why, the cages have been left as they are, he said. 

A senior police officer said that personnel could not be posted at the locality round the clock. Since panchayat elections are scheduled for Saturday, police have other duties to attend to, he said. 

Rumours too seemed to be dying down. Life is gradually getting back to normal in Whitefield and the surrounding areas as people started to carry on with their daily chores. But in Nallurahalli, some construction labourers and domestic help preferred to skip work on Friday for the safety of their children. While some private schools are closed till Monday in the wake of the elections and the leopard scare, many others, including government ones, functioned normally.

Cages turn kids’ play areaThe two cages kept behind Vibgyor High school in Thubarahalli and Nallurahalli have turned a play area for children. Since the cage in Nallurahalli was left unclosed, some children opened it, providing an escape for the stray dog kept as bait inside. Some children went inside the cage and started playing. They also happily clicked pictures. There were no forest official to check on the children. In Thubarahalli, children were seen playing atop the closed cage.

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