Leopard on prowl in Uttar Pradesh village

June 13th, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 13 (IANS) Fear and panic prevailed in Banjraha village of Uttar Pradesh Saturday with a full grown leopard on the prowl.
The animal climbed atop a tall mango tree and perched itself on a branch in the village in Siddharth Nagar district.

Villagers watched the animal with awe but when some overzealous ones pelted stones, the feline snapped at them before marching off to a bushy undulated terrain on the banks of a rivulet. The animal has wounded a villager.

Policemen as well as forest officials were at their wits’ end to overpower the leopard.

“We can shoot down the animal but for that the leopard must be declared a man-eater,” said an official.

Divisional Forest Officer K.K. Singh appeared least interested in doing anything about the animal that had apparently strayed into the village from the neighbouring forests in Maharajganj district or from Nepal, barely 35 km away.

“It is too late for me to go there because by the time I will reach, it will get dark. So I will take a look tomorrow,” he told reporters.

The state’s chief wildlife conservator B.K. Patnaik told IANS here, “I have directed the Basti DFO to rush to the spot with a team of forest guards to push the animal into its natural habitat.”

Asked if any tranquiliser team too was being rushed, he said, “Well, the team has been alerted and would be sent to the spot tomorrow, in case the animal does not return to its habitat by then.”

“The leopard was first sighted Saturday morning when some boys were trying to get atop trees in search of bird eggs,” Patnaik said.

“No sooner they realised that perched high on one of the trees was a full grown leopard,” he said.

This was the second incident of its kind over the past 10 days. In Karwawa village, barely 5 km from the present location, another leopard was noticed by villagers atop a mango tree. The animaL vanished into wilderness the next morning.

Sure enough officials were hoping for a similar disappearance once again.

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