Combing operation going on in Hubballi, Kavalageri village
Forest officials have continued the search for the elusive leopard in the vicinity of Nrupatunga Hills in Hubballi. Also, they have intensified the search in Kavalageri village near Dharwad, where a pair of leopards were reportedly sighted on Wednesday.
While the teams involved in the search operations have found pug marks and evidence of the movement of the wild cat, they have not been able to capture the leopards that have strayed into areas of human habitation.
On Thursday, while the forest officials continued their combing operation in the vicinity of Nruptaunga Hills in Hubballi, a few other teams began combing operation in Kavalageri village in the sugarcane fields where the leopards were last sighted.
Already, traps have be set up in the village and, on Thursday, additional traps were set up before beginning the combing operation early in the morning. Assistant Conservator of Forest Sourabh Kumar and team launched the search operation by using drone camera. During the combing operation, the forest teams found pug marks and also leopard droppings.
Maruti Shivappa Uppar, who was the first to see the leopard, told presspersons that he immediately alerted his father Shivappa, who raised an alarm.
“We saw the leopard near the sugarcane field just 15 m away from our house and it was staring at the cattle and the sheep that was tied to a peg outside the house. We immediately took our children inside,” he said and added that as soon as they raised an alarm, the leopard walked into the sugarcane field.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (Dharwad division) Yashpal Ksheersagar said that the fresh pug marks have confirmed that the animal is still in the vicinity of the sugarcane fields spread over 25 acres of land. “We have intensified the search by deploying forest personnel from Dharwad, Haveri and Gadag districts. And, three cages, with baits, have been set up. Tranquillisers with guns have also arrived,” he said.
However, Mr. Yashpal denied reports about a presence of a pair of leopards. He said that the presence of only one leopard has been confirmed now.
After the leopard sighting, Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad Nitesh Patil visited the village on Wednesday night itself to boost the morale of the village residents and allay their fears. He has assured them of taking all steps to capture the leopards and that they should also cooperate with the administration by not venturing out alone during sunset and sunrise.
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