KOCHI: Panic gripped residents of Kothamangalam and its suburbs for nearly four hours on Thursday after a wildcat spotted on an isolated plot was mistaken for a leopard.
The incident was reported at Ramalloor. A woman clearing grass on the plot mistook a wildcat for a leopard and alerted people nearby.
The incident also spread like wildfire over social media. Panicked, residents gathered at the spot.
“People saw the information on social media and gathered at the area. There were over 1,000 people in the locality. Police, Forest Department and fire and rescue service officers conducted a search for the animal,” said Kothamangalam Range Forest Officer V V Baburajan.
The search began at 10 am and continued till 2 pm. “The woman who spotted the animal was confident it was a leopard. However, while clearing shrubbery, a wildcat was spotted, which escaped the area. Since wildcats are bigger than ordinary cats, the woman might have got confused. Still, wildcats are aggressive,” he said.“Spotting a leopard in the locality is impossible as the place is not close to any forest area,” he added.