A leopard was spotted prowling the ITC factory campus in Yelahanka on Sunday evening and was captured late at night and sent to the Bannerghatta National Park on Monday.
The sighting of the leopard was reported at 7 pm on Sunday after which the Forest Department swung into action. Yelahanka Range forest officials reached the area where the leopard was spotted and placed a bait cage in the campus. The leopard was trapped in the cage late at night.
Forest officials said that the operation was carried out safely since there was no crowd. ‚ÄúThe leopard, aged about 5, may have lost its way and entered the campus from the nearby Jarakabande Kaval or Nandi Hills forest area. Since the factory campus has greenery, rocky patches and a pond, the big cat may have made it its home. The animal may have come in search of stray dogs, which leopards love to feed on," a senior official of the forest department told the Times of India.
However, some wildlife experts questioned the logic of relocating the leopard to a protected area like Bannerghatta. ‚ÄúLeopards are common on the outskirts of Bengaluru, especially Turahalli, Vidyaranyapura and near GKVK. Usually they feed on stray dogs during their night rounds. Once a week, they come to hunt dogs, which are easily available within city limits. In fact, they have adjusted to the city and will not survive in forest habitat. So we request the Forest Department to relocate the leopard to nearby areas rather than protected areas,‚ÄĚ Honorary Wildlife Warden (Bengaluru Rural) A Prasanna Kumar told The New Indian Express.
Officials also claimed that rampant concretisation and activity in outer areas of the city like Yelahanka, Bommanahalli and Uttarahalli are a threat to the habitat of leopards. In February 2016, a leopard strayed into the premises of Vibgyor School. When the leopard was being captured, wildlife scientist Sanjay Gubbi sustained minor injuries after being attacked by the animal.