mangaluru: Lockdown effect: Rise in leopard sightings in Mangaluru | Mangaluru News – Times of India

MANGALURU: The forest department has reported a rise in leopard sightings, especially in the Mangaluru range. Officials attribute the sightings to pandemicinduced lockdowns.
Prashanth Pai, Mangaluru range forest officer (RFO), revealed deserted roads during the lockdowns encouraged the big cats to venture into the human habitats more freely than ever before. Since food was easily available near human habitations on the fringe of forests, they may have gotten used to moving around in the region.
“However, now that life has returned to near normal, especially in terms of vehicle movement, it could have an impact on the movement of leopards,” Pai said. “Prior to Covid, there were reports of two leopard sightings in the range. Currently, the department suspects the movement of at least eight leopards in areas including Yedapadav, Kuppepadav, Mijar, Ganjimutt and Mangaluru airport area.”
In the past 15 days, incidents of dog kill were reported almost every day in areas like Kuppepadav and Mijar, suggesting leopards were increasingly on the prowl. Unscientific disposal of garbage could also lead to a rise in leopard movement, Pai said. Locals say the population of dogs and wild boars has increased since people are dumping waste around and this in turn is attracting leopards.
“The forest department is on alert,” Pai said. “Several CCTV videos have confirmed the movement of leopards. This footage is being examined and capturing cages have been placed at prominent places. About a month ago, one leopard was rescued from Thodar and released into the wild.”
Meanwhile, a meeting was held with the officials of Mangaluru International Airport on Wednesday. Five cages have already been placed in the area and an additional five more cages will be placed.
Panic also spread in Kumpala after locals suspected the movement of a leopard in the region. Based on complaints, forest officials have placed a leopard capturing cage in the area. However, an official said there were no pug marks in the area.

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Sagar Biswas

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