A combing operation has begun to trace a leopard believed to be playing hide and seek with forest department officials for the past 24 hours in a North Delhi village.
Officials have been flummoxed since Monday when a resident of Hiranki village called the police reporting the sighting of a leopard at his farmhouse.
A few pugmarks in the area and a footage of an animal — vaguely evident as a leopard — shot by a resident are the only proofs of the sighting.
The general belief is that the beast may have strayed from the nearby forest on the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana border.
On Tuesday, the forest department advised the Deputy Commissioner of the area to warn the villagers against leaving their children unaccompanied after dark and keeping a watch on the cattle.
“Although people are almost certainly not in danger, because leopards generally avoid and do not attack humans, children and cattle should be well guarded because leopards look for smaller prey,” said Prabhat Tyagi, Wildlife Officer, Delhi.
The department has also sent an advisory to the Education Directorate and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to apprise the students of local schools of the situation.
“The leopard would need to prey on animals like dogs to survive,” said Kartik Satyanarayan, co-founder of NGO Wildlife SOS, which is leading the rescue operation. “We generally look for such indicators. But so far there have been none.”