Himansu Shekhar Rout

The changed behaviour of the caged leopard which had earlier triggered panic remaining atop a house at Kodapali under Dharam Bandha section in Nuapada has triggered concerns among wildlife experts and the forest department. 

Meanwhile, a team of experts comprising Debrigarth DFO and experts from Sambalpur Zoo reached the Nuapada forest office to study the behaviour of the leopard which is being treated inside a cage. This was stated by Nuapada ACF Mohammed Saleha.  

Wildlife expert Dr Anup Nayak said, “The characteristics of leopards are that they usually stay close to human habitations. They are not man-eaters. They don’t reside deep in forests like the Royal Bengal Tigers. If there is a change in the pattern of their food and killing habits, it may kill humans. The attack on humans by leopards is very rare.” 

On the other hand, after the leopard was caged by the forest department, another one, believed to be a female, was allegedly sighted moving in the same area a day ago. Local residents who have been living in panic on Monday claimed that they had heard the big cat roaring in the nearby areas.

They have alleged that a female leopard on the prowl has been roaring occasionally, perhaps without getting the company of the male partner.  

However, the forest department has not yet confirmed the presence of another leopard, but has started holding meetings and making people aware of safety measures against the marauding animal in the villages. Forest officials appealed to people to inform them about the big cat if ever sighted.

Tulsa Sahu, a woman of the village said, “Some people have sighted another leopard which is now roaring in the nearby areas. People are living indoors for fear of the animal.”

Another woman Lileswari Sahu claimed, “Villagers have seen another moving and roaring in the area. After the male leopard was caught, the female leopard is moving. We are now so scared of the animal that my child was not allowed to go to school. We are not venturing out of the houses. As the sun sets, we shut our doors.”    

However, PCCF (Wildlife) Susanta Nanda said that the presence of another leopard can’t be ruled out. “People might have seen it and told about the animal. Trap cameras have been installed in the area while a special team of the department has kept a close watch on the leopard. In the last three days, no leopard was sighted by forest official,” the PCCF added.

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