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TN forest dept increases surveillance to catch elusive leopard

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Chennai, April 7 : The leopard, spotted by local people on the night of April 2 in Seemankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Myladuthurai, continued to be elusive even after six days.

The forest department has stepped up surveillance with the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), V. Naganathan, heading the operations.

A total of 13 teams of the Tamil Nadu forest department are involved in the search operations and camera traps have been set up at several points in Myladuthurai.

The forest department has released a photograph of the leopard captured on camera traps installed. The photograph shows that this is a well-grown leopard.

In a statement, Nagapattinam Wildlife Warden Abhishek Tomar said the department has since intensified the efforts to trap the animal in a cage. He also said that the forest department is in full swing to catch the elusive leopard.

Automatic cameras and thermal drone cameras are being used to trace the leopard which has remained elusive.

Cages, hi-tech equipment and specially trained staff from Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Srivillputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve have arrived in Mayiladuthurai.

The statement also said that two veterinarians, Kalaivanan and Vijayaragahvan, have joined the search teams to assist them in trapping the leopard by tranquillising it.

The wildlife warden in the statement said that leopards normally feed on small animals like goats and avoid humans. He also called upon the people not to panic and not to spread unnecessary messages spreading disinformation.

However, the statement informed people not to venture out at night and in the early hours of the day and also not to let children go out of their homes.

Though Mayiladuthurai district has about 1,000 hectares of reserve forests, mostly along the coastal areas, there has been no report of a leopard being sighted anywhere in these parts in the past.

The officials have appealed to the residents to cooperate with the search teams.(IANS)

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