Rashmi Ranjan

Panic gripped the residents of Gelebahal village under Badagaon forest range in Sundargarh district after a leopard strayed into the human settlement on Tuesday.

According to sources, some villagers spotted the wild animal while it was roaming in the backyard of a house in the village.

However, when villagers attempted to drive away the animal, the big fled to nearby agricultural land, sources added.

On being informed, forest department officials have rushed to the village and started monitoring the movement of the animal.

“A team has been sent to the village and the movement of the animal is being monitored constantly. By the time our team reached the spot, the animal had gone into a nearby small forest. However, we are yet to distinguish whether it is a leopard or jungle cat,” said Pradeep Mirase, Sundargarh DFO.

“All efforts are on for the safe passage of the animal without harming anyone. If the animal sustains any injury in the process, we will tranquilise it and provide necessary treatment,” the DFO informed.

Meanwhile, environmentalists have attributed such incidents to disturbance created in forests.

“There are several instances where the leopards have strayed into the human settlement. Sundargarh is a mining area. The animal might have moved towards the human settlement after its natural habitat is disturbed,” said wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty.

Untill late evening the leopard could not be captured by the forest officals despite tedious efforts. Though a trap was laid by forest officials, the leopard reportedly escaped to another bush. Forest officials are monitoring the movement of the leopard.

(Reported by Bijay Barua, OTV)

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