Telangana: the locals pray while the leopard feeds on cattle for a year

HYDERABAD: In the past year, an elusive has killed more than 56 animals and is giving sleepless nights to people in the Rangareddy district. On Saturday night, he struck again in Mangalpally, jumping over a 6-foot fence and killing six goats. All the traps have failed to attract the leopard since he made his first murder in January last year.

Manda Ramreddy and his wife Manda Alivelamma of Mangalpally, who lost their six goats on Saturday, said that nearly a dozen cows, buffaloes and goats have been hunted by the leopard in just one month in their village and surroundings.

This leopard is moving near our village now. On Saturday night, he killed all my goats and ate one completely. Forest officials give us compensation of Rs 4,000-5,000 for each death. But it won't cover our losses, Ramreddy lamented. If the leopard kills a calf, officials compensate only the loss of the calf, but they don't realize that if the calf dies, the mother of that calf stops producing milk. After each death, we incur losses of more than Rs 50,000 -60,000, he said.

‘Captured in the camera, but did not enter the cage’

The villagers said they were now afraid to go to their agricultural fields, fearing a leopard attack. “The villagers are angry. If forest officials don't catch the animal soon, the leopard's life would also be in danger. It must be captured and relocated safely where there is enough prey. We do not want farmers to face problems due to the leopard and, at the same time, we also do not want anyone to harm the leopard, said Mirza Kareem Baig, a member of the Forest and Wildlife Protection Society (FAWPS).

M Janakiram, Amangal forest division officer, told TOI: “This leopard was once captured in a trap chamber, but did not enter the trap cages. Leopards are very intelligent animals and if they suspect danger, they do not run the risk of entering these cages. We have installed two traps with live baits and four camera traps in the town of Mangalpally after the last murder. We hope that at least this time the leopard wants to reach the bait in the cage. ”

Forest officials also suspect that there could be another female leopard and two cubs wandering around the surrounding villages. There have been reports of another leopard and two cubs that could have committed some of these deaths in the past year, but we have not yet collected evidence, Janakiram said.