DHARMAPURI: In an operation that lasted for over four hours, forest officials managed to trap a leopard cub that entered a farm near Adhiyamankottai village in Dharmapuri after straying from the adjoining forest area early morning onThursday.
According to sources, the two-year-old male cub was first sighted by Anna Durai (50) of Saadhanayakan village when the animal attacked him after he entered a banana farm to attend nature’s call. Hearing his scream for help, Arun Kumar (17), a college student, entered the farm and was also attacked. Subsequently, the villagers informed police who, in turn, alerted the forest department.
Officials organised the rescue operation for more than four hours from 8 am before the wild cat was trapped using a net.
According to sources, the residents of Elumalmanthai village near Papparapatti too helped in trapping the leopard. Frightened by the racket created by people, the wild animal moved out of the paddy field and entered Athiyamaankottai town where it attacked Sakthivel (50) and Hari (alias) Arivu Mani (30), who were part of the operation.
One more person, identified as Muniyappan, a by-stander, too sustained injuries. Muniyappan escaped getting killed by the leopard as a man standing close to him shooed it away with his helmet.
A K Ulaganathan, Conservator of Forest, confirmed that five people were injured by the leopard. He added that the leopard may have entered the village from the neighbouring forest region. When asked about the health of the trapped animal, he said, “Medical tests showed that the wild cat is in good health and it was released inside the Mallahalli reserve forest to prevent it from entering Hogenakkal.”
The injured were sent to the Government Dharmapuri Medical College and hospital from where they were shifted to the Government hospital, Salem.