Sangareddy: A leopard which was sighted on the ICRISAT campus has created a fresh round of terror in the area with many daily workers refraining from going to work in the premier agriculture research facility.
According to officials at the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, the leopard was first seen on February 4 but some security staff who saw the animal were initially not sure of its identity. “We informed the Forest Department the same day following which camera traps were installed in the campus the same day by the department officials,” an ICRISAT official said.
According to officials, initially, pictures of a jungle cat were captured by one of the camera traps and it was surmised that the security staff may have mistaken it to be a leopard. However, monitoring with the camera traps continued and on Saturday night, one of the cameras captured the image of a leopard.
Following this discovery, a cage trap was immediately placed with a goat tied as bait inside it. Images from the camera traps showed that the leopard approached close to the cage but kept its distance from the cage. Following this, two more cages were brought to the ICRISAT campus from Medak district and have since been placed at two other locations on the campus in a bid to trap the big cat as soon as possible.
The ICRISAT campus is spread over 1,390 hectares and has several thickets.
Meanwhile, ICRISAT officials have alerted all employees and security personnel to move only in groups for safety. The officials suspect that the leopard may have walked along a railway line that lies close to ICRISAT and may have made its way to the campus from the Vikarabad forest area along which the railway line passes.
It may be recalled that a similar incident had gripped ICRISAT in 2014.
Incidentally, it was also in February of that year that a leopard made its way into the ICRISAT campus during the first week of the month. And it took five months for the authorities to trap the animal in the last week of August.
Residents live in fear
Sangareddy: As the news of Leopard roaming in the ICRISAT Campus spread like wild-fire in these parts of Sangareddy district, it created terror among the people living in residential areas abutting the campus.
Residents of several colonies including Bombay Colony, Max Society Colony, New MIG, Tellapur village and residents of other colonies have demanded that officials take immediate steps to catch the Leopard.
Turpu Srinivas, a ward member of the Tellapur village, demanded that the Forest Department and ICRISAT to make all-out efforts to catch the wild-animal soon. He has also appealed that steps be taken to localize the leopard within the ICRISAT campus and prevent it from straying into the nearby residential areas.