Leopard takes Bengaluru school on toll, 12-hour operation to trap big cat

Wild animal might have strayed from Whitefield, says PCCF.

Bengaluru: Over 50 forest officials struggled for over 12 hours before tranquilising a young leopard that had strayed onto the premises of Vibgyor School in Varthur on Sunday.

The forest department officials, who had been alerted by school security guards about the presence of the big cat, had summoned three experts with tranquilizer guns and put up nets all over the school walls to catch the leopard.

Forest department officials, who arrived on the school premises around 8 am, formed two rescue teams and banned the entry of people with immediate effect.

They waited the entire morning, but could not sight the leopard, which had gone out of the school premises and hid itself behind a bush. As people started making noise and officials burst crackers, the animal ran back into the school.

One of the forest department experts shot a tranquiliser dart at the leopard near the school toilet rooms, sending it into a rage. The leopard attacked Sanjay Gubbi, a well-known wildlife activist, near the swimming pool.

Gubbi tried to scaled a small gate, but the leopard pulled him down and bit him in the right arm and legs. But he managed to escape with minor injuries. As the tranquiliser kicked in, the leopard collapsed near the school changing room where it was caged by the forest officials.

A large crowd, especially worried parents, had gathered outside the school throughout the day. Most of the parents were sharing information on Whatsapp with the school administration, which sent regular updates.

Mr Vikas Chandra, whose two-year-old girl studies at the school, said, “We came to know about it around 11 am. This incident is quite worrying. If this leopard has come to the school without anyone noticing it, we fear that it could happen again, that too when the students are in the school.”

Another parent Nandini Choudhary said, “We are happy that the officials have captured the leopard. We cannot complain as we humans have encroached into the territory of wild animals. Once in a while, there will be such human-wild animal clashes.”

Where did it come from?

It's very difficult to say where the leopard has come from, as it is an open area. I suspect that it could be from the areas around Whitefield, where there are bushy plains and hillocks. The area has been the habitat of leopards and other wild animals. Mr Ravi Ralph, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife).

Who is Sanjay Gubbi?

Mr Sanjay Gubbi has been working for conservation of wildlife, especially tigers, in the Western Ghats of Karnataka for a long time. Apart from the several popular articles in English and Kannada, he has authored Vanyajeevigala Jaadu Hididu (On the Trail of Wildlife), a book in Kannada, and co-edited another one, Vanyajeevigala ramyaloka (The Delightful World of Wildlife).

Under the ‘spot’light

4 am & 4.13 am: Leopard caught on CCTV cameras of the school

5.30 am: School security guards Samuel and Babu spot the leopard and alert the school authorities

8 am: Police and forest officials reach the spot

9 am: Forest officials arrive

9-3 pm: No sign of the leopard on the school premises

4 pm: The leopard jumps onto the school premises again

5.30-6 pm: Leopard attacks wildlife activist Sanjay Gubbi and a forest official’s driver, Benna

6.30 pm: Leopard is tranquilised

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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