“Do not rear livestock such as cows, goat and fowls, as they attract leopards,” says a security advisory sent out to the students at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay after fresh leopard sightings earlier this week.
The quirky instruction, penultimate in a list of 11 dos and don’ts, was sent by the security office at the Powai campus as an email on “security guidelines” to all residents of the campus on Thursday.
Students have not missed the funny side of the security email. “The mail is real, unless the security officer has a weird sense of humour,” said one student.
But while the instruction sounds comical, it could be meant for other residents of the campus who may rear cattle. UA Yajnik, dean of student affairs confirmed that some non-teaching staff did have cattle and that depending on the frequency of leopard sightings, students were asked to take precautions.
The security officer has, in addition to stating obvious precautions such as shouting for help in case of a sighting, also advised residents against sleeping outdoors at night, Leopards are frequently spotted on the campus as the institute borders the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
They are attracted by the stray cattle and dogs that live in the campus.
Residents have also been asked not to photograph the animal in case they spot one and to avoid following or making provocative gestures at the leopards.
Other instructions ask residents to secure doors and windows and avoid lonely stretches of roads.
The email also asks residents of IIT Bombay to stay alert for frantically barking dogs as this could indicate the presence of a leopard.
“(The) leopard is afraid of lights and (fire) cracker bursts. Hence, it is advisable to carry a torch and flick it around while moving at night,” said the notice, adding that the institute has approached the concerned authorities to scare away the leopards.