Leopard' scare in Adambakkam, Guindy

Forest dept rules out possibility of wildcat movement.

Chennai: A mystery animal, believed to be a wildcat, scared the lights out of a half asleep 50-year-old homemaker in Adambakkam early on Wednesday morning after it jumped into the compound of her house and growled at her.

Rising mercury levels in the city had inconvenienced S. Neelavathy, who was finding it difficult to sleep and had stepped out of her house at 3 am to catch some fresh air, when the animal startled her. Hearing her scream, her husband N. Sundararajan came running to her aid only to be told that a leopard may be measuring their terrace. Sundararajan, who scoffed at her suggestion, tried calming his wife down by telling her that leopard sightings are unheard of in Adambakkam. When Neelavathy insisted that she knew what she saw because she had seen leopards on televisions. The husband alerted the neighbours for help.

As it was too dark, and as they could still hear the animal moving around, they prepared to wait until daybreak. At 6 am, after gathering more locals, an oral complaint was given to the Adambakkam police station, who promptly informed the forest department. The locals also identified what was said to be the animal’s pug marks from a sand pile nearby.

“I have seen leopards in zoos. The animal was nearly three feet tall and equally long. It growled at me viciously,” said Neelavathy, though her husband said that he could not recall hearing growls as he was half asleep.

Rangers attached to the Velachery division told DC that it was unlikely that the mystery creature could have been a leopard. “There are no leopards within Chennai corporation limits. There are a few in the Kanchipuram district reserve forest areas. Even if it was a leopard, we would know because it would have eaten some farm animals,” said ranger David Raj.

“We suspect that it is a wildcat or just a rabid dog. People need not fear. Earlier, we camped in Manali in North Chennai after similar complaints of leopard sighting and it turned out to be a wild cat. Wildcats look very similar to leopard,” Raj added. Locals added that such mystery animal sightings were frequent in and around Adambakkam areas. Early on Tuesday, workers at the Guindy Industrial Estate too reported spotting a ‘leopard’ moving around.

Forest officials said that such sightings could be because animals in the wild are moving out in search of drinking water as the summer sun scorches the land.
Rangers added that in the Chengalpattu reserve forest area where there are leopards, they have set up artificial drinking water spaces so that a repeat of last year, when an animal entered into human territory, does not happen.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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