COIMBATORE: A wave of panic swept through the Panachayat union elementary school at Nallakathu estate in Valparai town after a group of students spotted a leopard feeding on disposed egg shells near the toilet building during lunch hours on Wednesday.
Forest department sources quoting students said the children saw the big cat hanging on a barbed fence of the school when they went to wash their hands around 12.45 pm.
Subsequently, the students started hurling stones on the intruder and also alerted the teachers. On hearing the screams of the students, teachers reached the spot. But, by then the leopard had fled and sneaked into the forest nearby.
“This is not a stray incident as two days ago another big cat was spotted near the school by students. The forest department should place a cage to trap the leopard before some untoward incident happens,” R Ranjit Kumar, headmaster of the school, told express.
Following the information Manampalli forest range officer Arivoli, who visited the school along with a team of education department, confirmed that there was high concentration of leopards near Nallakathu estate.
Officials during enquiries found that the egg shells that were being disposed by anganwadi workers near the school premises were luring big cats to the spot.
“We have advised them to dispose eggshells a km away from the school premises so that intrusion of wild animals could be curbed. As a immediate follow-up action bleaching powder eggshells and garbage have been cleared from the spot and bleaching powder has also been sprayed,” said Arivoli .
Besides urging the municipality authorities to maintain the area clean, the forest department has also posted four anti-poaching watchers to provide security to students.
Usually, leopards would stray into residential areas only during the night in Valparai town to prey on domestic and farm animals. However, the Wednesday incident has caused panic among students and locals after the cat’s intrusion during the day, sources said.