Guwahati, Dec 1: Triggering panic among the people, an adult leopard strayed into a girls’ hostel at a residential locality in Hengrabari here on Monday, officials said. The leopard was tranquilised after more than four hours of efforts and rescued by the forest officials later in the day.
A forest official said that the owner of the hostel, Mousumi Bora, spotted the leopard lurking under the sofa of a hostel room.
Bora along with the hostel inmates at once locked the room and informed forest officials, who soon arrived with a tranquiliser gun.
Officials of the Assam State Zoo, Wildlife Division and Territorial Division along with the police also joined the forest officials to tranquilise the leopard in more than four hours of endeavour.
“When the leopard was hit with the tranquiliser shot, it took shelter in a nearby house, causing panic in the locality. Subsequently we rescued the tranquilised animal and took it to the Assam State Zoo in a cage,” a forest official said.
He said that the leopard would be checked if it has sustained any injuries and a microchip would be tagged to the animal before it is released into the forest.
According to the CCTV footage of the hostel premises, the animal could be seen entering the premises in the wee hours of Monday.
Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said: “Another successful operation today (Monday) as we safely rescued an Indian leopard which took shelter in a hostel in Hengrabari, Guwahati. The success can be attributed to the timely intervention of our Assam State Zoo, Wildlife Division and Territorial Division staff and police team.”
Leopards frequently stray into the houses in Guwahati as the city is surrounded by mountains and forests.
On August 20, a six-year-old boy was mauled to death by a leopard in Maligaon, on the outskirts of the city. In fact, several people have been injured after being attacked by leopards in Maligaon and its adjoining areas.
Wildlife activists said that the habitats of leopards and other wild animals have been shrinking over the decades due to encroachment by the people, leading to man-animal conflicts. There have also been incidents in the recent past when angry mobs killed leopards and other wild animals.
Wildlife activist Mubina Akhtar said that the hills are where the leopards live but people have been encroaching upon their habitats.
“There are seven reserve forest areas adjoining Guwahati. The forest department has neither demarcated them properly, nor has it put up any signs or notice boards, resulting in encroachment of forest land,” Akhtar told IANS over phone.
“Since 2010, man-animal conflicts are rising in Guwahati, but authorities are doing nothing to stop such incidents,” she added. (IANS)