Leopard strays near Jammu, caught

March 4th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

Jammu, March 4 (IANS) A leopard strayed into a forest area near here Tuesday and was caught by wildlife officials before it could cause harm to humans or cattle, officials said. Police sighted the leopard early morning in the Katar Batal forest area, about 20 km north of here. They reported the matter to the wildlife department that deputed a team to catch the leopard, which has been declared a “protected” animal in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The team caught the leopard and shifted it to the wildlife office in Jammu,” said Nasier Ahmad Kitchloo, wildlife warden.

He said that it was the first time a leopard was sighted and caught from an area so close to Jammu city, “though they have been straying into habitats in mountainous villages close to forests”.

Officials said the recent heavy snowfall might have caused the leopard to stray.

“We are still trying to find the reasons for (the animal straying) but it could fit into a bigger study of man-animal conflict,” Kitchloo said.

The warden added that the numbers of leopards “have increased manifold and we are in the process of doing their census”.

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