Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Security was heightened in Palaspalli area of Bhubaneswar after a leopard, which was found lurking in one of the commercial establishments in the area Sunday night, was spotted again in the wee hours today by a security personnel deployed at the ATS Tower.

While the local people have been asked not to venture out alone in the night, morning walkers have also been stopped from entering a specific area near the airport, as the officials are suspecting the presence of the leopard in the area.

"I saw the leopard loitering near the tower around 4:40 am and later the animal jumped the wall towards the city. It is big in size," said TS Ahmad, a security officer deployed at the ATS tower.

A special team of the Forest Department has been deployed to capture the wild animal. The team has launched a search operation to locate the leopard in the area.

Sources said a team from Nandankanan Zoological Park is also present at the spot to oversee the situation.

A Forest Department official said, "All our staff were on duty throughout the night. The leopard is in the airport area and we are trying our best to tranquilise the animal unharmed."

As per latest information, a team of Forest Department & CISF led by city DFO has started an operation to capture the leopard along with a tranquiliser team of Nandankanan. The old airport road has also been sealed for the operation.

The leopard was reportedly spotted in the area on Sunday. The visuals of the leopard entering the campus of a commercial establishment were captured in CCTV cameras. The wild animal had entered the office premises after scaling the boundary wall of the Bhubaneswar airport, said one Bankanidhi Senapati, who claimed that he saw the big cat at around 10: 30 PM on Sunday.