TUMAKURU: After two weeks of living in fear, the people of Manganahalli, Huildore and other villages took it upon themselves to catch a leopard that had killed their cattle.
Forest officials said a one-and-a-half-year-old male leopard was spotted in Huildore and surrounding villages. It triggered panic in Huildore two weeks ago when it killed two sheep belonging to farmer Ranganna.
The villagers informed the Bukkapatna range forest officers, who placed a cage in Huildore. However, the leopard gave the cage a slip and started moving from one village to another. A few days ago it was spotted at Manganahalli in Sira taluk.
Villagers of Manganahalli contacted at least 50 people from surrounding villages over cell phones and it was decided that at 10 am on Monday they would start looking for the leopard and catch it.
Wielding poles and weapons, at least 50 men gathered at Manganahalli. The group chased the animal till 4 pm. Exhausted, the leopard hid in a bush. Forest officials, who were later informed, captured it.
‘What the Villagers Did Was Wrong’
Tiptur Assistant Conservator of Forests Nagendra Rao said, “What the villagers did was wrong. The people had informed us and we had sent staff to launch an operation (on Monday). But they did not concede to our request and went on their own (to catch the animal).”
Rao said the villagers were fortunate that nobody was hurt.
Veterinarian Dr Sujay told Express that the leopard was healthy but exhausted. The leopard was shifted to Devaranadurga, where it was attended by veterinarians.
The leopard will be released to Muttatti forests in Ramanagaram district on Tuesday.