CHENNAI: Carcass of deer, believed to have been hunted by a stray leopard, found close to a forest area adjoining a village near Urapakkam has added to the panic of the people who are already under the grip of fear over repeated sightings of the big cat.
According to local sources, residents of Karanai Puduchery village noticed the carcass on Sunday and alerted the forest officials. The villagers had told forest officers that they heard noises resembling movement of wild animals in the wee hours of Sunday after which they went in search after dawn. “We have seized the carcass and sent it to Vandalur Zoo for autopsy. We can ascertain that it was a leopard only after the autopsy report,” said a forest official.
The villages adjoining the forest areas in Vandalur, Chengalpattu and Thiruporur continue to remain fear stricken as leopards were sighted in these areas since May. However, the big cats, have not attacked any humans so far. Only goats have been killed in a village near Chengalpattu.
While leopards have lived in these thick hilly tracts for so many years without getting noticed by the villagers, the recent sightings have raised concerns and the forest department has also placed cage traps and cameras at various places in and around the forest areas.
Near Karanai Puduchery too, where the deer carcass was spotted on Sunday, forest officials have placed a cage trap.
“The pug marks from that area also resemble that of leopard. So based on this we are guessing the direction of the animal’s movement and are strategically planning the search operations,” said a forest official.
The forest department is also planning to place more cage traps in the forest areas. Villagers have been alerted to stay indoors especially during night hours and avoid moving in the forest areas.