Captured from shop, leopard turns public spectacle in Orissa
A leopard caught from a shop in Orissa was forced to entertain senior district officials and local residents for four hours, before it was finally handed over to the Nandankanan Zoo. Chetan Chauhan reports.delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2012 23:36 IST
A leopard caught from a shop in Orissa was forced to entertain senior district officials and local residents for four hours, before it was finally handed over to the Nandankanan Zoo.
The leopard, which had entered a shop in Suvarnapur district, was trapped when the shopkeeper rolled down the shutters. As forest department officials were reportedly catering to some VIPs in the area, the animal had to remain locked in the commercial establishment for nearly 24 hours. When they finally arrived, the leopard was captured without the use of a tranquiliser dart — the standard procedure prescribed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) — and put in a cage.
The events that followed shocked wildlife activists and animal lovers alike. Biswajit Mohanty, a member of the National Board for Wildlife, said the forest officials were asked by the district collector to bring the leopard to his residence. “The collector organised a leopard show. People lined up to see the animal — taking photographs. This went on for nearly four hours,” Mohanty said in his complaint to the NTCA.
Not accustomed to being in the public glare, the leopard banged itself repeatedly against the sides of the cage — suffering injuries.
Mohanty told NTCA that wildlife guidelines were flouted on many occasions in the present instance — starting with the fact that the leopard was rescued by forest personnel over 24 hours after it entered the shop. Besides this, the animal was not kept in an isolated location, as recommended.
The wildlife activist also took exception to the fact that the leopard was not released within 10 km of the site of its capture, as prescribed by the guidelines, but translocated to a zoo 300 km away. The NTCA has been urged to take action against the officials, and ensure that the animal is released in the wild.