Straying leopard trapped in Mariani


Mariani, Jan 2: A stray leopard that caused panic in the Honowal Tea Estate in Mariani area in the past few months was filly caught today. The animal had killed some goats by gaining entry into a cattle shed in that area.

The leopard had frequently entered the human habitat and the villagers had complained to forest officials whenever they saw any signs of the animal.  Few days back the villagers had submitted a petition to the State Forest Department seeking protection.

Following the complaint of the locals, the Forest Department kept a cage at Section no 49 of the Tea Estate.  

“We had kept a cage in that area putting some meat as bait. The leopard was found trapped in the cage on Saturday morning,” said a forest officer.  He added, “The animal has been troubling the villagers for the past few months as it keeps on entering the locality for easy prey like cattle and dogs.”

The leopard aged around five years is a female, according to the official. The animal had strayed into the village from nearby jungle.

“Initially the caged leopard was examined by a local veteririan. As part of protocol prescribed for leopards and tigers, later the forest veteririan examined the animal and certified its fitness. There was no exterl wound found on the body of the animal,” the official added.

Later in the evening, the leopard was taken to Meleng Divisiol Forest Office of Gibon Wildlife Sanctuary. The official said that the leopard will be released deep inside forest area.  Environment and wildlife NGOs, meanwhile, blame the government for failing to protect the wildlife habitats in the state. In Upper Assam, leopards have always been common in the tea-growing districts.

“But the same people who used to earlier revere the wild animal are today in retaliatory mood,” said a forest official.

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