COIMBATORE: Leopard scare has struck villages in Sirumugai forest range again. The last time a leopard was caught in the area was in August last year. While the people living in the area had been relieved for the past six months with no unruly encounters with big cats, villagers say they spotted a leopard roaming in the area around 10 days ago. This has caused a scare among the people living in the region.
Forest department officials have set up camera traps on the boundaries of the forest area to ascertain the presence of the leopard.
K Vijayakumar, a farmer, said there had been two recent instances of attacks on animals. “Ten days ago, a calf was killed. A dog went missing a week ago. People have also said they had spotted a leopard at night in the area. Though I have not seen the leopard, I have lost two of my animals. We need to know the cause,” he said.
Forest officials said they had received reports from people that the leopard had been spotted in the regions near Sennamalai Karadu, a small hillock, which lies on the border of the forest range. “The region is right on the boundary of the reserve forest. People say they spotted the leopard coming out of the forest into settlements at night,” said Sirumugai forest range officer E N Manoharan.
However, Manoharan said forest department workers had not spotted the animal yet. “We have also not seen any pugmarks or droppings to identify the animal,” he said.
Forest officials placed camera traps to ascertain the presence of the leopard in the area. “We would place four more camera traps in the region to make sure that the leopards are present in the area. If we could confirm it, we would place a cage with a bait to trap the animal,” said Manoharan.
In July last year, a leopard frequented the villages in the region and preyed upon three dogs and a few goats. Forest officials placed a trap near Mothepalayam village and the leopard was trapped in August. It was later let into the reserve forest area near Bhavanisagar Dam.