A 6-year-old leopard has been spotted lurking in the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Patancheru in the outskirts of Hyderabad. The forest department officials confirmed its presence last Wednesday after seeing the video shot by security officials of the institute on patrol, substantiated by pug marks and droppings.
Officials say that the animal could have come from Vikarabad district. The adult feline was spotted by ICRISAT patrol team on Monday. However, they were able to catch it on camera on Wednesday, and subsequently alerted the forest department.
Speaking to TNM, A Shankaran, Deputy Conservator of Forests, OSD, Wildlife said, “We are monitoring the animal by setting up 11 camera traps at key locations, and two trap cages have been set up to capture the animal.” “Based on the photo, the animal looks 5-6 years old,” he added.
The forest department has already alerted their officials to find a suitable habitat for the leopard, where it could be released after being captured.
“We are thinking of releasing it either in Adilabad, Mancherial or Amrabad forest reserve where there are sufficient species for its prey.”
The forest department has also advised the patrol teams and others in the campus against venturing out alone in the night.
The District Forest Officer of Sangareddy is overseeing the operation. According to officials, two teams have been deputed in the campus to capture the animal unharmed.
This is the second time that a leopard had entered into the massive campus sprawling close to 1,300 acres. Earlier in 2014, a 7-year-old leopard had entered the campus, and it took more than four months for the forest officials to capture it.
Last month, it was suspected that a leopard was lurking in University of Hyderabad, which is located in Gachibowli. A security guard had said that she spotted the leopard while on patrol at Ladies Hostel. However, after setting up cameras and monitoring the campus, the forest officials couldn’t confirm the presence of the animal.