HYDERABAD: After Kothapally, around 50 km from Hyderabad, was under grip of confirmed presence of a leopard last week, a woman security guard on University of Hyderabad has claimed sighting of a leopard in the university campus on Friday.
Almost immediately, university officials got in touch with the Telangana forest department who sent its officials to the location to look for pug marks or any other signs that might confirm the leopard’s presence on the campus.
The forest department has decided not to take any chances and to set up camera traps as well. When contacted, A Shankaran, OSD(Wildlife) said, “The officials concerned from the Shamshabad forest division have been asked to go there along with officials from anti-poaching division. We will set up camera traps in the university and try to capture an image of the animal if it does exist.”UoH Chief Security Officer informed the forest department that the woman security guard is confident of her claim that she indeed saw a leopard running in the campus.
A pug mark was also discovered in the university near the Peacock Lake but it has not been identified yet. As the university has various animals moving around, it could be of any one of them. UoH spokesperson, Prof Vinod Pavarala said that the university plans to put out a notice asking individuals not to venture into lonely areas anywhere on the campus in the interest of their safety.
But is such a thing possible?
It is not impossible as leopards have been found in some areas of Hyderabad in the past. It may be recalled that recently, in 2014, a leopard was caught in International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics(ICRISAT) campus, which is located just 12km from the university. Also, in 2004 a leopard had strayed into Jubilee Hills. Moreover, the university has an abundance of prey for the leopards like wild boar, spotted deer and stray dogs.