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Cages set up, drone survey ordered to trace missing Leopard

By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON NOV 25, 2020 11:15 PM IST

Ghaziabad: District officials have made elaborate arrangements to trace the missing leopard that surfaced at Raj Nagar on Tuesday morning and was captured in CCTV cameras installed at residences in the locality.

The district administration officials said at least five cages have been set up to trap the animal. They have directed the forest department to make use of drones to trace the leopard in the thick vegetation.

The leopard, stated to be a female, had emerged from the generator room of the official residence of Kanchan Verma, vice-chairperson of the Ghaziabad Development Authority. Later it jumped to the adjacent Raj Kunj locality before disappearing into the campus of nearby school, Ingraham Institute, located on Hapur Road.

Police PCR vans are making announcements, asking residents to be careful and not to venture out after dusk, and to switch on lights outside houses at night.

“The leopard is yet to be traced and forest department teams are camping at the school. They have set up five cages at different places to trap the animal. I have told them they can make use of surveillance drones to trace it as the nearby areas have thick vegetation,” district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said .

Official sources said they have not found any carcass of dogs or cattle from nearby areas. Rumours of a leopard moving around was also doing rounds from nearby Dadri in Gautam Budh Nagar.

Gautam Budh Nagar officials denied the claims. “We have not received any complaint, nor has anyone spotted a leopard in Dadri or any other range of the district,” said Kitab Singh, range forest office, Dadri.

The school campus spans about 23 acres and houses two English and Hindi medium wings, besides a polytechnic, staff quarters and other facilities. There are also vast open areas with thick vegetation.

“Our wing is located at a distance from the spot where the animal was stated to have entered the campus. We do not have students at present and we have alerted our staff members who live in the campus. An alert has been issued by the district administration. Meanwhile, we have deputed some of our staff to stay alert and keep a watch on open spaces,” said Aparna Ruth, principal of Ingraham Institute English Medium School.

The district administration on Tuesday evening had confirmed that the animal was a leopard and its surfacing had scared residents of Raj Nagar, Kavi Nagar and nearby areas.

“Everyone is keen to know whether the animal has been captured or not. People are hesitant and scared to venture out. A leopard is a shy animal and generally moves around in search of food,” said Ruchin Mehra, a city-based animal activist.

“It is quite possible the animal has probably strayed into the city limits from areas such as the Muradnagar canal or Loni where such sightings have come to light during past years,” he said.

In December, 2014, the body of a leopard was discovered near the river Yamuna in Pychara village in Loni. A day later, another leopard was found dead in the fields of Abupur in Modi Nagar, Ghaziabad and was suspected to have died due to electrocution.

Besides these, an animal from the cat family, possibly a leopard, was spotted in Vaishali’s Sector 3 on August 1. On December 17 last year, a three-and-half year old male leopard was trapped and captured from the Hindon airbase.

Also, in April, 2017, a male leopard was captured from Krishna Vihar Kuti area close to the Hindon airbase after it injured a man, a child and a cattle.

According to officials, the leopard, Panthera pardus, is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and included in Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora). It is listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

They said that a leopard is known to travel 50-100km in the fields at night.

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