BENGALURU: Encounters of the wild kind are now getting closer home for Bengalureans. With increasing instances of man-animal conflict in an ever-growing city, residents of Nayandanahalli near Turahalli and those living around Bannerghatta National Park are being advised to “spend time indoors during cold winter nights” through loudspeakers.
This comes after two incidents involving a leopard and a tusker were reported in these parts. According to locals and forest officials, a leopard reportedly killed five chickens and goat kids late on Saturday night in Veerabhadra Nagar, Nayanadanahalli. Though no recent case of human casualty has been reported, the incident has created a sense of fear among locals.
The police and forest department officials patrolled the area on Sunday, looking for signs like animal footprints and droppings. “After thorough combing of the area, what looked like a pug mark was found at some distance from the sheds where the dead livestock were found,” a forest official said.
Biker in hosp after tusker charges at him
“To confirm that it is a leopard, a team will be deployed for night patrolling after which a cage with bait will be placed to capture the carnivore,” the official added. Forest officials point out that leopards wander for over 20 km during nights. The nearest forest to the location is Turahalli state forest, which is 10 km away and is home to leopards.
“Besides Veerabhadra Nagar, we discovered an approximated 10-acre forest-like space, a conducive habitat for leopards to hide. This is also their mating season and leopards are on the prowl. Normally, leopards target and pick only one prey for food.
The bite marks and death of animals could also be by a stray dog. So, for the sake of their own safety, citizens should not venture out post sunset,” the official explained. Meanwhile, a 30-year-old biker fell off his vehicle and was injured on Ragihalli Road near BNP late on Saturday night, after a brush with a tusker. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Jayanagar.
A forest official said, “The tusker was wandering on the road when the biker noticed it. As the animal tried to charge, the biker fell off the vehicle and fractured his leg. This is the first incident this year. To ensure there are no more of such incidents, we are in talks with all stakeholders. We do not want to ban night traffic, even though it is permitted on the roads cutting through national parks.
We are asking people not to venture out alone, but move in groups, even in vehicles. “Since BNP is a fragmented habitat, safety of citizens and animals is crucial. There is resistance from locals. A team of forest officials will be posted at the entry points and groups of people will be escorted. This is the plan for now. A final decision will be taken after a detailed discussion. Until then, citizens are advised caution,” the officer added.