Greater Noida residents spot ‘leopard’, forest officers say it’s a fishing cat
A resident of Greater Noida west clicked a picture of the animal when his driver spotted it stumbling upon the service road near the drain. The photo soon began circulating on Whatsapp groups.Updated: Jan 18, 2019 13:00 IST
A picture of a wild animal lurking on a service road in Greater Noida west, floated on city’s Whatsapp groups on Wednesday night, has residents claiming that they have spotted a leopard whereas the forest officials said pug marks showed that it was a fishing cat, an endangered species.
It was around 9pm on Wednesday that 42-year-old Caleb Gilbert heard his cab driver yell “tiger-tiger”, about 300 metres away from his home in Stellar Jeevan of Greater Noida west, as the speeding vehicle came to an abrupt halt to spot a wild animal stumbling upon the service road near a drain. Gilbert, a native of Valparai in Tamil Nadu, claims that the animal resembled a leopard and it was on the service road adjacent to Paramount Emotions society. He immediately clicked a picture on his phone and rushed to his Stellar Jeevan society to alert the guards.
“I belong to Valparai where there is a tiger reserve and I have seen several wild animals in my youth, so I know a leopard when I see one. I immediately informed the security guards and a few residents who then returned to the same spot a few minutes later. However, the animal was gone by then,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s picture started circulating on Whatsapp and, soon, a team from Bisrakh police station reached the spot.
“We did not find any wild animal. We also alerted the forest department officials who conducted a search on Thursday morning,” Anil Shai, station house officer, Bisrakh police station, said.
Wildlife experts, however, said, from the grainy picture shot by Gilbert, it looks the animal was indeed a leopard.
“Going by the skin patches and physique, it appears that the animal was a leopard,” Ananda Banerjee, a Noida-based wildlife specialist, said.
However, when forest officials reached the spot, they claimed the animal could be fishing cat — an endangered species of the cat family commonly found in South Asia until a few decades ago.
According to district forest officer PK Srivastava, pug marks of a fishing cat, were found on Thursday morning near the drain, opposite Paramount Emotions society.
“Our team visited the spot and found pug marks of a fishing cat. We had earlier spotted pug marks of a fishing cat in Kasna area as well. There won’t be any combing operation to search for the wild animal, because, although the animal is carnivorous, it is not a man-eater,” Srivastava said.
First Published: Jan 18, 2019 13:00 IST