Visakhapatnam: The camera traps installed in the Seethakonda forest range to check if any leopard was lurking around as reported only managed to capture sambar deer and porcupine in the past three days. One of the favourite tourist spots in the city, Kailasagiri and the VUDA Health Arena at the bottom of the hill which had been kept closed from last Saturday following reports of a leopard sighting will be reopened once again for visitors on Wednesday, according to Vuda vice-chairman P. Basanth Kumar.
A security guard had claimed that he had sighted a leopard in Kailasagiri on Friday, which kept the forest department on its toes. Two teams were deployed at the places where the leopard was suspected to have been present. Five camera traps with night vision features and motion sensors were installed while a cage trap, with a goat as bait was kept at nights. Speaking to this correspondent, Divisional Forest Office (Vizag) Alan Chong Teron said, “Leopards leave some signs such as claw marks on trees and pug marks. There were no such evidences found so far. The camera traps so far captured only sambar and porcupines. But a forest team will continue patrolling for some more days.”
Moreover, dogs, which are the main prey for leopards lurking close to urban areas, do not move around in packs if they spot a leopard. According to the common behaviour of leopards, they growl and spit with a screaming roar of fury when angry and they purr when content. They announce their presence to other leopards with a rasping or a sawing cough. They have a good sense of smell and mark their ranges with urine and also leave claw marks on trees to warn other leopards to stay away. However, no such signs were found so far by the forest team. Leopards continually move about in their home ranges, seldom staying into an area for more than two or three days at a time. With marking and calling, they usually know each other’s whereabouts. It appears that the security guard mistook the sambar or some other animal for a leopard. The precedent of an adult leopard entering a deserted house in the thickly populated MVP Colony a few years ago was also fuelling the claims.