The leopard that was spotted at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park last month was released in the Shivalik ranges at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
The three-year-old male cat was released in the Saharanpur forests around 4am, Delhi’s chief wildlife warden AK Shukla said.
The leopard was spotted roaming inside the Yamuna Biodiversity Park last month. It was trapped near Jagatpur village, located in the periphery of the park, early Saturday morning.
“We were mulling over releasing it in the Hastinapur area of Meerut but decided against doing so after taking into consideration few adverse reports and to avoid conflicts over territory,” Shukla said.
Before being released, the leopard underwent a series of medical tests in the Delhi Zoo.
The leopard’s presence in the Yamuna biodiversity park had cheered wildlife enthusiasts and was being seen as an achievement considering wild cats had completely disappeared from the region.
But the Delhi government decided to trap and relocate it saying it may pose threat to villagers in the vicinity. The news of its sighting had come soon after villagers in Haryana’s Sohna district had thrashed a leopard to death.
Many experts have criticised the government’s decision to relocate arguing it has shorn the Yamuna Park of the rare achievement of having a complete food chain.
Even the environment ministry guidelines released in 2011 observe that “arbitrary removal of leopards could lead to increased conflict”.