A video of a leopard and porcupine walking on a road in Mysuru has gone viral, sparking panic among residents of the city.
The two animals were spotted near the Golf Club in Lalitadripura Road in Mysuru.
The video, shot by onlookers in a car, was first uploaded on Twitter and has since gone viral on WhatsApp groups in Mysuru district, with many people expressing shock at seeing the wild animals walking so freely on roads close to the city.
Incidents of leopard sightings in residential areas have become increasingly common in the state.
On January 20, a young leopard was captured amid high drama after it remained trapped for hours in a house in Karnataka's Tumakuru town. Forest officials confirmed that the leopard had come looking for food.
The sightings in the past month brought to the fore the long-standing man-animal conflict in Karnataka. A 2015 study documented 245 cases of human-leopard conflict in over a 100 sub-districts of Karnataka over a 14-month period. The conflicts lead to the deaths of 34 leopards.
The study also noted that transgressors were not following the government guidelines to manage human-leopard conflicts.
C Jayaram, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said that the department will get in touch with the Mysuru Zoo to publish a new list of Dos and Donâ€™ts for citizens when they come in contact with a leopard.
â€śFrom Chamundi Hills up to Raichur, there is a stretch of agricultural land where leopards are living. They usually stay in the forest and donâ€™t want to come in contact with human beings. Leopards actually want to avoid human beings. Their food is mostly stray dogs,â€ť he said.
The officials, however, are yet to decide whether the leopard will be caught and tranquilized.
The forest official also advised people to not panic and behave aggressively with leopards as it could lead to fatal counter-attacks. â€śLeopards naturally do not attack humans. When you see a leopard, it is better to stay calm and try and avoid it, rather than take pictures or attack it. Inform forest officials and they will take it to a national park or sanctuary,â€ť he added.