TIRUPATI:Panic gripped pilgrims trekking to Tirumala through the Sri Vari Mettu footpath on Saturday afternoon following reports of the sighting of a leopard near the footpath, according to sources.
The sources told Express here that some pilgrims who reportedly saw the leopard crossing the footpath near the 250th step around 3 pm alerted those following them. The panic-stricken pilgrims then halted in their tracks for a while. Meanwhile, on being informed about the sighting of the leopard, the forest staff from the nearby Eethagunta and Pulibonu base camps rushed to the spot along with some TTD staff and escorted the pilgrims on their onward march.
When contacted, Tirupati Wildlife Management Divisional Forest officer G Srinivasulu told Express that they did not find any signs to confirm the presence of a leopard in the vicinity of the footpath.
“We did not find the leopard pugmarks or any other signs to show its presence on the footpath or its vicinity,” he said and added: “However, we have deployed our personnel to monitor the situation and also to escort the pilgrims.”