Forest department calls off search for elusive leopard that haunted Vellore villages for two weeks

Three traps set up along the Nagaleri in Vaniyambadi were removed winding up the exercise which began on Dec. 28 following the attack on a woman, her brother and a neighbour at Chikkanankuppam village

Published: 12th January 2019 09:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2019 09:51 PM   |  A+A-

leopard

Image of leopard used for representational purpose only. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

VELLORE: After keeping a close vigil to trace an elusive leopard that scared several villages in Vaniyambadi in Vellore district for two weeks, the personnel of the Forest department have called off the search operations.

“We have wound up the search operations, since there was no trace of the movement of the leopard in the last 15 days,” an official said.

Usually leopards cannot remain in idle mode for more than ten days, as they are bound to roam out from hiding, he explained. Three traps set up along the Nagaleri in Vaniyambadi were removed winding up the exercise which began on December 28 following the attack on a woman, her brother and a neighbour at Chikkanankuppam village before the animal went hiding into the bushes.

The people in the neighbourhood gathered around the area with sticks and logs to chase it away. The enraged animal emerged out of the bushes, pounced on three local men, and paced fast into the nearby forest. The Forest department men immediately set up traps at three locations with baits to lure but their effort turned futile.

A few days later, suspicion of return of the animal grew as a calf was found to be injured at Arangaldurugam. Special squads were constituted to trace the animal and the men were equipped with tranquilisers. Scared by the elusive animal, the villagers had sleepless nights. But now, the search operations were withdrawn presuming that the animal could have moved into the reserve forest in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

However, a top officer maintained that the search operations, though scaled down, will be continued. “Even though the leopard was not sighted during past fifteen days, we will continue with search. Our men will go on keeping vigil in the woods,” Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Vellore Circle, Sewa Singh told Express. The people in the villages have begun to breath free now.

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