CHENNAI: A quiet morning with welcome sunshine turned out to be a busy and tense day for Karanaipuducherry near Vandalur as a leopard ventured very close to the village. The big cat killed a bull and fled back into the forest when villagers gathered in huge numbers, though it initially it acted a little aggressive.
Saturday’s sighting of the leopard comes after a gap of more than a year. Last July, many such sightings were reported in the villages in the southern outskirts of the city and a camera trap set up by forest department also captured a leopard. But, much to the worry of the local residents, the leopards remained elusive, despite the cage traps put up at several places.
The turn of events on Saturday unfolded when a villager went behind the bushes to answer nature’s call in the morning. “He heard a loud roar and when he turned behind, he was shocked to see the leopard dragging a bull,” said a villager. The leopard did little to harm him. But, the panick-stricken man fell over several times as he took to heels and got injured requiring medical treatment.
He managed to reach a tea shop in the village and told them what he saw.
Locals armed themselves with logs, stones and other weapons they could gather and rushed to the spot. “On seeing us, it initially threatened to attack us. But, on seeing the huge gathering, it was frightened and started running into the forest,” said another villager.
Apparently emboldened by this, the villagers started chasing the leopard, but the big cat vanished into the forest within a few minutes.
However, for reasons not clear, the villagers were hesitant to inform the forest officials.
The villagers blocked the street leading to the area and guarded the carcass of the bull hoping that the leopard will return to get its prey. Even after hours of waiting, the leopard did not return. After waiting for a few hours, the villagers concluded that it would not return and removed the carcass themselves from the spot.
A few of the villagers believed the leopard could have escaped from the Vandalur Zoo. But, an official of the zoo said no animal had escaped from the zoo.