Monday, April 13, 2015

Yet Another Leopard Caught in Ooty, Freed

By S Senthil Kumar
Published: 12th April 2015 

COIMBATORE: Another  male leopard, aged about six or seven years, was trapped near Kodanad Estate in Udhagamandalam on Friday night and translocated to the Upper Bhavani range on Saturday morning. This is the third leopard to be translocated in the last two months.

Animal activists have expressed concern over the frequent capturing and translocation of big cats. They termed it unhealthy as it could escalate conflict among the animals.
The leopard that was trapped and released in the upper Bhavani ranges on Saturday morning | express
According to sources, the animal was trapped in a cage that was setup at a village in Kodanad Estate on Saturday evening. A leopard was trapped at the same spot the last time as well.
Assistant conservator of forests, Gudalur division, A Pushpakaran, who led the operation said they had set up a cage following frequent complaints from the locals. “Earlier, the animal had killed goats. School children were also afraid to leave their homes. Now that the animal has been trapped there is no need to panic,” he said. “The animal was released on Saturday morning at Upper Bhavani range. It was not tranquillised,”he added.

Wildlife veterinarian NS Manokaran monitored the animal’s health. “Leopards are territorial animals. Releasing them in another place will only escalate conflicts among the big cats. Other big cats already occupy the area and it will not allow other animals to enter,” said S Jayachandran, joint secretary, Tamil Nadu Green Movement. “Chief wildlife warden should sensitise the minister MSM Anandan about wildlife behaviour. Increasing leopard movements indicates a healthy trend and the officials should stop capturing and releasing the animal,” he  said.

The forest department officials usually take help from NGO members to trap and release the animal. However, none of the NGO members were involved in Saturday’s operation. Jayachandran said that there was no need to take the help of NGO members for translocation operations. But as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, presence of NGO members is a must while doing a necropsy on a tiger,” he said.

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