Meera Bhardwaj: 
A leopard that was sighted in the world famous Brindavan Gardens of the KRS Dam in Karnataka, India has been caged by forest officials early Thursday. This spotted big cat was captured on CCTV a week back when it was ambling across the south gate of the Brindavan Gardens. The continuous sighting of the leopard in the vicinity of the gardens led to its caging and it will be released soon – back in the wild.

Being a very popular tourist destination for visitors to Mysuru, forest officials had placed cages at two spots – one the south gate and the other at north gate of the gardens. Early this morning the leopard was found in the cage that was placed at the north gate in Pandavpura range, Mandya district. Local vendors, shopkeepers and people working at the dam heaved a sigh of relief as the leopard was found prowling in this area frequently. 

Despite combing operations by forest officials, the animals had remained elusive and there was no sign of the big cat. Further, the camera grab of February 4th had created a bit of panic as the leopard was seen moving across the gardens.

Speaking to Green Minute, Srirangapatna Range Forest Officer Sunitha said, “The male leopard is 2-3 years old and a decision will soon be taken on its release back in the wild – Nagarhole or Cauvery protected areas. Since a month, there has been lot of movement of leopards and so, sightings have been more. This maybe due to their increase in population. In fact, farmers inform that often leopards have been found with cubs in the sugarcane fields. And till the mother leaves the place with her cubs, the farmers do not enter their fields.”

Leopards are never seen in the dam area informs Satish, forest guard, Karighatta. It may have come out of curiosity or in search of easy prey like street dogs. This is a habitat which is conducive for leopards and rural people are not really scared and have accepted their presence in their midst.

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The recent report released by the central government cite an increase in the Indian Leopard population with their numbers being less than 13,000 in 2018. Karnataka state has a population of 1783 Leopards.