The Karnataka Forest Department will have to continue its search on Wednesday for a leopard suspected to have carried away and killed a sleeping boy and an old woman in the state's Ramanagara district recently.
Sadashiv N Hegade, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Ramanagara confirmed that active search operations will resume post dawn.
On May 9, a leopard took advantage of a door left ajar in a house in Kadirana Palya village of Magadi taluk, carrying away three-and-a-half-year-old Hemanth Kumar, who was sleeping with his parents and grandparents.
In a similar fashion, on Saturday morning, 67-year-old Gangamma, sleeping outside her home in Kotteganahalli village, was also killed by a leopard.
"The leopard took away the woman around 4 am," said Hegade.
Following the two deaths, the department set up a camp to undertake round the clock vigil in the terrorised villages to capture the leopards.
"We have arranged 13 cages with baits such as goats and dogs to capture the big cats," said Hegade.
On Sunday, a drone was also flown over the forest and villages to know the whereabouts of the cats but could not find any trace of the leopards.
"Maybe because of the bushes and rocky place, we could not get any sign of the leopard," he said.
The Forest Department camp is also making announcements telling people not to venture out of home and has also distributed some pamphlets with the same message.
More than 20 forest officials are maintaining the vigil. "We are also fixing some camera traps to catch a glimpse of the cats in our efforts to capture them."
Hegade said the villages are located on the fringes of the Bantarakuppe forest.
Forest officials are awaiting the postmortem report of the victims, and have decided to give a compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh each.
Meanwhile, the department also found a pair of very young leopard cubs, probably a week-old which will be left at the place where they were found.
"We have captured three leopards, two male and one female. Male leopards aged about two years each and the female, four-and-half years respectively. They are from approximately 10 km away from the area where the killings were reported. But these leopards have nothing to do with the killings," Sadashiv N Hegade said.
The department has examined the canines of the three captured leopards, along with other tests, before releasing them deep inside a different forest, Male Mahadeshwara Betta.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, forest officials of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve managed to capture a tiger which had killed 15 livestock in the area.
Officials in the know said that the tiger has an injury in its foreleg because of which it had taken to killing domestic animals.
The tiger will be released back into deep forest after being treated by veterinarians.
The tiger was trapped after department officials had failed to tranquilize it on Monday even though it was flushed out by trained elements from thick bushes.