COIMBATORE: The sight of a leopard and its two cubs near the residential area at Kakkan Colony in the hill town of Valparai on Saturday evening, created panic in the area for a while. However, there were no reports of any untoward incidents like attack on cattle or humans.
Residents of Kakkan Colony spotted three leopards roaming near the river on Saturday around 5:30 pm and forest officials were subsequently informed.
Soon, a team of anti-depredation squad reached the spot and asked the public to move to safer locations. They also sounded the siren fixed in the forest department jeep. Subsequently, the animal moved inside the forest at Stanmore estate.
In an attempt to alley fear among the residents, officials of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) had deployed 10 members from the squad to chase away the animals, if it return again on Sunday evening.
“We have been announcing the public not to venture out or stand near bushes, as there is a high chance of leopard movement. But the animal will not attack humans intentionally. The three leopards were attracted by the smell of meat wastes dumped near the river. Despite our requests to the municipal officials to carry out solid waste management effectively, the practice of dumping meat waste and domestic waste in open place is still continuing,” sources said.
“There has been no report of attacks on cattle or humans. We have instructed the public to protect their cattle and dogs by lodging them inside safe enclosures. If the leopard charges at us, it would first target our necks. We have been given gloves to protect our neck and hands,” the sources added.
Forest officials have instructed the public not to panic. At present, there were no plans to set up cages to trap the animal, since there has been no disturbances reported.
“We are also keeping a gun and would fire in the air to chase away the animal, in case it is necessary. So far, we have not used a gun to scare wild animals in Valparai, and have not faced any such emergency situation,” sources said. In June, fear gripped Mathampalayam village along the foothills of Western Ghats near Coimbatore after cattle became a leopard prowling in the residential areas started preying on cattle.