Leopard enters abandoned house near Gudalur in Tamil Nadu

The information spread like wildfire, and people started gathering in large numbers to see the leopard.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

NILGIRIS: Tension prevailed at Semundi village in Srimadurai Panchayat near Gudalur in the district after a leopard took shelter in an abandoned house there on Monday afternoon. The animal was tranquilised before it was captured and released by the Gudalur forest division personnel inside the reserve forest within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

The leopard was found by a man who approached the house to take agricultural equipment. Labourers stock their equipment in the vacant house, said forest sources.

Shocked to see the big cat moving inside the house, the man locked the entrance door and also fastened it with a rope. He subsequently informed the Gudalur forest officials at 12 p.m.

 The information spread like wildfire, and people started gathering in large numbers to see the leopard. However, over 50 forest staff from O-Valley, Gudalur, Cherambadi, Pandalur, Naadukani, and Bitharkadu along with members from the Flying Squad and Rapid Response Team (RRT) managed the crowd and placed barricades 600 metres from the house to prevent people from entering the house. Ten members of RRT wore safety clothing to protect them from leopard attacks if the animal came out of the house.  

"We laid a net in the surrounding area of the house to prevent the leopard from escaping. Trapping the big cat using the net is not a viable solution since the animal may bounce back, and it would create unwanted tension for the local people as they have gathered in large numbers to see the animal. Tranquilising is the only option in such a case, but it got delayed as the only Assistant Veterinary Surgeon K Rajesh Kumar could reach Semundi on Saturday at 7 p.m. after completing two elephant post-mortems at Theppakkadu and Thengumarahada. Both are different areas within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)," said a senior forest official
 After tranquilisation, the animal was taken inside the cage which was kept ready. The animal was subsequently released in the reserve forest in MTR.  
"Though the animal took shelter inside the abandoned house at 12pm, we set up generators and lit up lights to carry out the operation during the night," the official added.

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The New Indian Express