Thiruvananthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram Zoo authorities are peeved with the forest department officials after they realised that the male leopard brought from the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday evening was moderately injured. Its tail and face were bleeding with the forest authorities giving scant regard to its health while in their custody for more than three months. The 10-year-old leopard was originally captured from a railway track in Kannur. They spotted the wild cat on March 5 hardly a kilometre from the train station. After several hours of efforts, the leopard was tranquillized and transported to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary the next day.
Zoo authorities were not keen on bringing the wild animal to the already packed leopard enclosure having two males and four females. But there was no other way when the forest department insisted that it was not fit to be released into the wild. However, zoo officials told DC that the forest authorities should have ensured that its tail was properly taken care of which requires surgery. “But what caught us by surprise is that despite being in the care of the forest officials, its tail and mouth were injured. They did not even bother to take the blood samples. Now our immediate concern is to have the wild cat regain its health,” said a top zoo official.
Dr C. S. Jayakumar, a veterinary surgeon with the forest department, told DC that the injuries were “self-inflicted” while being shifted from Neyyar to the zoo. “If someone has complained of injuries, it is nothing but an exaggeration. Wild leopards find it difficult to adjust in enclosures where they tend to inflict wounds themselves,” he said. On Tuesday, the animal had eaten only a few pieces of beef out of the three kilos served. Zoo officials feel that it is stressed and they have decided to let it relax for a few days and decided not to tranquillize it for surgery now. Once it regains its health, they would perform surgery on its tail and apply stitches. Already, the zoo has got Ashwini (19) Seena (10), Jahnvi (3), Sarangi (4), Ganesh (12) and Ramu(11) in the leopard enclosure.