BENGALURU: A leopard that was seen prowling at the ITC campus in Yelahanka on Sunday evening was captured late at night and relocated to Bannerghatta National Park the next day.
The animal was first sighted in the area at 7 pm on Sunday, after which the forest department was alerted. Yelahanka Range forest officials placed a bait cage in the campus and the spotted cat was trapped late at night.
According to officials, an absence of crowd helped them carry out the operation safely.
They added that the animal will adjust easily to its new environment in Bannerghatta as unlike other big cats, leopards can live in various types of habitats. Wildlife experts said leopards are common on the outskirts of Bengaluru, since the area has a natural undulating, scrub terrain. However, with vanishing habitat and prey, they usually come at night to look for stray dogs, and usually don’t attack humans.
Honorary Wildlife Warden (Bengaluru Rural) A Prasanna Kumar said, “Leopards are common on the outskirts of Bengaluru, especially Turahalli, Vidyaranyapura and near GKVK. Usually they feed on stray dogs during their night rounds. Once a week, they come to hunt dogs, which are easily available within city limits. In fact, they have adjusted to the city and will not survive in forest habitat. So we request the Forest Department to relocate the leopard to nearby areas rather than protected areas.”
Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram said the city runs day and night because of IT operations.
“This has adversely affected the wildlife, including leopards, in Bengaluru in the last three decades. Earlier, there used to be no activity after 7 pm, and wildlife used to thrive. But now, that is no longer the situation, resulting in sightings and frequent captures and relocations.”
Every hillock or hill — an ideal habitat for leopards — in Bengaluru is now occupied by people. Rampant building activity is taking place in the city’s outer wards like Yelahanka, Bommanahalli and Uttarahalli.
A long stretch from Mandur to Jyothipuram houses leopard population, but most hills have been disturbed here. Karnataka has a leopard population of about 2,500, but no estimate is available for Bengaluru.
Jayaram said, “We are responsible for this chaotic situation and the man-animal conflict. No area is free in the entire state for animals.”
On Feb 7, 2016, a leopard strayed into the premises of Vibgyor School at Whitefield. During the capture operation, wildlife scientist Sanjay Gubbi was attacked by the panicky animal, injuring him. Some others also suffered minor injuries.