Hyderabad: A change in strategy by forest officials helped trace the leopard that has been creating terror on the city’s outskirts near Yacharam in Ranga Reddy district.
There have been some 13 attacks on cattle in the past two months, but finally, camera traps managed to capture images of the leopard and the forest department is confident that the animal will soon be caught.
On Thursday morning, forest divisional officer (FDO) of Amangal M. Janakiram visited the site of Wednesday’s cattle kill at Govindaipally near Yacharam. He decided not to send the corpse of the two cattle for post-mortem as in earlier cases, and instead, left them where they were, expecting the leopard to return to finish feeding. Leopards often feed on their prey for the next couple of days.
Two trap cameras along with a trap cage with bait were then installed near the kill and all human movement in the area was stopped.
On Friday morning, images of the leopard captured in camera showed the animal to be around five years old and weighing around 65-70 kg — sign of a well-fed animal. The normal weight of a leopard is 55-60 kg. The pictures also showed that it had eaten 10-15 kg of flesh from the calf’s carcass and that it returned for the feed at 10.30 pm.
Forest officials are now confident of catching the leopard on its next visit. Mr Janakiram said, “Every time cattle owners used to send the corpse for post-mortem. Now, we have decided to wait for it and clear all disturbances in the area. We had thought there may be two or three leopards or a leopard with cubs.
Now it is confirmed that there is only one. We have also deployed three animal trackers from Friday morning and soon we will capture it.”