Stray leopard caged; to be shifted to Itanagar Zoo

ITANAGAR, 6 Sep: A leopard that had strayed into human habitation in search of food was caged in Wakro town in Lohit district by a joint team of forest officials from the Kamlang Tiger Reserve (TR) and the Pakke TR on Monday.

The authorities have decided to shift the animal to the Itanagar Biological Park (Itanagar Zoo), in apprehension that, if it is released back into the wild, the leopard might reappear in the town.

The Kamlang TR administration, under the leadership of DFO Harshraj Wathore, started monitoring the predator after reports emerged of its movement near the town and its killing livestock very close to human settlements.

“Camera traps were installed at probable locations to track the movement of the leopard. An advisory was also issued to the people for taking necessary precautions to avoid any conflict with the leopard,” the DFO said.

“Precautions, such as bursting of crackers, night patrolling, and clearing of weeds near settlements were also carried out to avoid any untoward incidents,” he said.

A rescue team, including veterinary officers equipped with tranquilizer guns, was called from the Pakke TR. The team stationed itself at Wakro for a week and identified the areas of movement of the leopard. Cages were set up at two locations, and the team succeeded in trapping the animal.

The leopard had been roaming around Wakro town and nearby villages for a long time, the officials said.

The capture and rescue operation was carried out by Wathore, RFOs Kalseng Denchen and Hage Oppo, Deputy RFO P Meyan, field biologist Aditya Das and the protection force of the Kamlang TR, under the guidance of PCCF (Wildlife) N Tam and DCF Damodhar AT, and with support from Pakke TR DFO Suraj Singh and Pakke TR veterinary officers Dr Panjit Basumatary and Madhurjya.