Leopard suspected to have entered forests, search called off

Leopard suspected to have entered forests, search called off

Two days after the leopard escaped from the three-layered cages of Bannerghatta Biological Pa­r­k (BBP) Rescue Centre, the officials forest on Wedn­e­sday decided to give up the operation to trace the big cat.

BBP executive director Santosh Kumar told Deccan Herald the zoo staff have stopped search operations as it has been established that the leopard is inside the forests. It is safe and people are safe. There have been no signs of any leopard in the periphery of the national park and the zoo. Pug marks have been found in the forest, but they cannot be linked to the runaway leopard yet. The staff have resumed their routine duties and things have returned to normal at the zoo. 

Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) Deputy Conservator of Forests Sunil Panwar said that since there are no signs or sightings of any leopard outside the forest area, it can be said that the leopard is in the forests and has not come out. Thus people on the periphery need not worry and the staff is patrolling and keeping a watch, he said. 

The six-year-old leopard escaped from its rescue centre holding area, squeeze cage and kraal area on Monday. The carnivore jumped off a 25-foot fence to the abutting BNP patch at around 6.30 am. 

The five-member committee, which was formed by the Zoo Authority of Karnataka and Forest Department, to investigate how the leopard escaped and the possible lapses, has started investigations. It has recorded statements and details of all the zoo staffers. They will investigate the matter and submit the report within a week's time. The committee is also preparing a list of details of improvements required in the zoo for the safety of animals and visitors. 

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