The elusive leopard, which was last seen at an apartment complex in Bengaluru last week, was spotted there again on Friday, January 29. It was sighted on the premises of Prestige Song, a residential society off Bengaluru’s Bannerghatta. On January 24, when it was spotted first, it created a scare among the residents of the building as well as others in the neighbouring areas of Begur and Koppa near the Hulimavu lake. The police, along with the forest department, had formed teams to comb the area in a bid to capture the big cat and release it back into the wild.
“The leopard was sighted again around 3 am on Friday. However, we couldn’t take any action since the team from Bannerghatta National Park doctors, who could sedate the big cat, was not present at the time of the incident. We have set up cages at four different points nearby to trap the animal, which could be wandering in the caves and terrains nearby, and to release it back into the wild,” said Deputy Forest Range Officer Harsha, who was present at the location during the sighting.
When the leopard was first spotted on January 24, it was believed that it strayed and entered the building. The CCTV camera footage accessed from the apartment then had shown the big cat crossing a road within the apartment complex. Since then, the video has been doing the rounds on social media platforms, including WhatsApp. After the incident, the officials had set up camera traps and were using drones to trace the leopard. Harsha and the team have been constantly monitoring the area.
The officer added that they cannot do much in sending the wild cat back into the forest because of fears over losing it into the dark. Besides, according to the Standard Operating Protocols issued by Karnataka’s Forest Department, no animal can be sedated in an open space after 6 pm, said the head of the Bannerghatta National Park team, Dr Umashankar.
“There are chances that the shot of tranquilliser may kill the animal. The drugs are very potent, which start showing effects quickly. Using it in open space when it is dark, can cause the loss of the wild animal,” said Dr Umashankar, adding that the team is trying to assist the police as best as possible.
However, the distress among the residents has been mounting with the leopard still roaming around in the vicinity. The residents alleged that they have been sighting the leopard every day; although no untoward incident has been reported so far. The residents reportedly said that the big cat has been coming at night to use the compound to move between two sites.
The residents are planning to increase the height of their compound wall and fix a barbed wire to prevent such incidents in future.