Forest officials on Wednesday caught another leopard from Andhra Pradesh’s Tirumala near the Lord Narasimha Swamy temple, the sixth big cat to be trapped since the start of the ‘Operation Leopard’
“Six leopards have been caught till date from August. TTD and Forest Department are continuously working for the protection of devotees,” Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Chairman Bhumana Karunakara Reddy said today
The officials further informed that the leopard was captured at the same place where, Lakshitha, a minor girl was killed in an attack by the wild beast last month.
“Another leopard was caught in the cage at Tirumala walkaway route,” a forest official said today, adding that the forest department is making arrangements to move the leopard to the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park.
The TTD Chairman said the Tirumala walkaway route was being continuously monitored.
“Arrangements are being made to take samples of this sixth leopard and send them for testing with targeted samples,” he said.
The forest department launched ‘Operation Leopard’, in August after several leopards were sighted on the walkway to the hilltop temples.
“The forest officials had set up 300 trap cameras at several locations in the forest to monitor the movement of the leopard and trapped the animal on Wednesday morning,” they said.
On Monday, forest officials released one leopard in the reserve forest while another leopard who was caught at the Tirumala walkaway route last month was shifted to Visakhapatnam Zoological Park.
The forest officials had collected samples from leopard excreta and sent them for DNA testing. However, results revealed that the leopards were not involved in the killing of the girl, officials said.
The girl, identified as Lakshitha, had gone missing near the Narasimha Swamy temple while walking towards the Tirumala on the Alipiri walkway and was found dead at Lakshminarasimhaswamy temple, the officials said last month.
Andhra Pradesh Forest Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy had said that strict measures will be taken to prevent leopard attacks, adding that TTD and Forest departments were mulling over setting up a fence on a permanent basis. (ANI)