In a recent development, the forest officials have effectively executed the trapping and capture of an additional leopard in the vicinity of the seventh mile of Tirumala Ghat, situated in Andhra Pradesh. This operation was successfully conducted during the early hours of Monday, reflecting the diligent efforts and proficiency of the involved authorities.
This occurrence signifies the apprehension of the fourth large feline as part of the ongoing initiative titled ‘Operation Leopard.’ Commenced earlier this month, the operation was instigated in response to multiple leopard sightings along the pedestrian pathway leading to the hilltop temple.
Each of the captured leopards has been successfully relocated to the Tirupathi Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park. This strategic action ensures the safe transfer and subsequent care of these animals, contributing to both their well-being and the overall management of the situation.
The operation named “Operation Leopard” has been conducted uninterruptedly since August 15 within the state. This sustained effort reflects the commitment and dedication of the involved authorities in effectively managing the situation involving the leopards in the region.
Earlier in the current month, two distinct incidents occurred during the ascent along the pedestrian pathway leading to the Tirumala Temple, involving attacks on children by leopards. Tragically, one of the children, a girl, lost her life as a result of the attack, while a five-year-old boy sustained injuries. These incidents underscore the urgency of managing the interaction between human activity and wildlife presence in the Tirumala Ghat region.
In response to the aforementioned incidents, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board, in collaboration with forest officials, took proactive measures by installing Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and deploying specialized cages designed to capture the leopards. This strategic action reflects a concerted effort to enhance surveillance and employ effective trapping methods, with the primary aim of mitigating further interactions between leopards and human beings.
Nageswarao, the Chief Conservator of Forest, has provided an update on the recent developments, stating, “During the early hours of Monday, we successfully apprehended a leopard in the Tirumala Ghat vicinity, specifically near the Seventh Mile of the Alipiri Footway. To date, our efforts have led to the capture of three leopards, all of which have been relocated to the SV Zoo Park. We have taken proactive measures by installing a network of 300 CCTV cameras to closely monitor wildlife movements. Furthermore, in the near future, we plan to augment our surveillance capabilities with an additional 500 CCTV cameras, aimed at ensuring the safety of devotees visiting the area.” This comprehensive approach underscores the commitment of the authorities to both wildlife management and public safety.
On the 17th of August, a significant development occurred with the successful capture of a third leopard along the Tirumala Footway. This event further underscores the ongoing efforts of the authorities in addressing the challenge posed by leopard presence in the area.
According to Forest Official Satish Reddy, “We identified the presence of two leopards roaming within a radius of five hundred meters in close proximity to the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple.” This observation highlights the need for heightened vigilance in areas where human activity and wildlife habitats intersect, aiming to ensure the safety of both visitors and the local wildlife population.
“On the 14th of the current month, the leopard that had been captured was successfully relocated to the SV Zoo Park. Subsequently, trap cameras were deployed to monitor the activities of another leopard. At approximately two o’clock in the morning, the aforementioned trap effectively captured another leopard. As a continuation of our efforts, we are proceeding with the relocation of this leopard to the SV Zoo,” he further elaborated. This sequence of events highlights the precision and efficacy of the trapping operations conducted by the authorities in response to leopard sightings and interactions with human-inhabited areas.