Unable to catch a male leopard that strayed into National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) forest area in Dadri nearly a year ago, officials of the Uttar Pradesh forest department have decided to get a bigger cage to catch the big cat.
The leopard had strayed into the NTPC forest from the neighbouring Yamuna forest area in December last year. NTPC employees first spotted it on December 15, 2014.
The Dadri NTPC campus is spread across 2,500 acres along NH-91 that connects Delhi with Kanpur. Of this, around 2,000 acres is forest area and has a variety of flora and fauna.
After learning about the leopard, the forest department placed two small cages of 2X3 (foot) size to catch the big cat.
However, the small cages failed to trap the leopard, the department on Friday procured a big 5X7 (foot) cage from Meerut.
“We will put a bigger cage in the forest area on Saturday. NTPC officials have repeatedly expressed fear about the presence of the leopard because their employees have spotted the leopard at different places,” said Pramod Shrivastav, range officer, UP forest department.
NTPC has asked the forest department to catch the leopard and take it out of its forest area. NTPC’s close circuit cameras have captured the leopard several times in the past one year.
“The trap was in place for the past one year, but we have been unsuccessful in catching the animal. The good thing is that the leopard has not hurt anyone so far. But we have sought permission from the Uttar Pradesh chief wildlife warden for its relocation,” Shrivastav said.
“The leopard is eating blue bulls, antelope, dogs and other stray animals in the NTPC forest area. The big cat strayed into NTPC forest from the neighbouring Yamuna forest area,” Shrivastav said.
“We have paid `2.5 lakh to the forest department for the new cage and the relocation of the leopard. We have issued an advisory to our 1,200 employees, asking them to be cautious. Our employees are scared,” said Pankaj Saxena, chief public relation officer at the NTPC unit in Dadri.
NTPC employees, however, said that they have seen many leopards in the forest area.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, said relocating the leopard could harm it.
“If the leopard is not harming any person, what is the need to relocate it? We will write to the authorities to ask if they are following the relocation norms,” said Vikrant Tongad, a local environmentalist.