Leopard scare near Virudhunagar

Forest Dept officials have ruled out the possibility of a big cat straying 50 km away from a reserved forest

Even as local residents had raised an alarm over a leopard prowling at the Amathur panchayat area, Forest Department officials have ruled out the possibility of the big cat straying into an area 50 km away from a reserved forest in the Western Ghats.

However, a dog squad of the Forest Department will be pressed into service in the village again on Tuesday evening, to re-verify the claims of the local people. The panchayat president, A. Kurinchimalar, said that only after two persons from Veerachellaiyapuram claimed to have seen a leopard on Monday afternoon when they came to collect firewood, was a tom-tom done on Monday night to alert people about the lurking danger. Her husband, R. Alagarsamy said that many deer were found in the vast expanse of uncultivated rain-fed farms in the panchayat.

A Forest official said that the suspected pug marks found in the area were very small suggesting that the animal could not be leopard, but only a wild cat. Besides, there were no complaints of any attack on cattle.

However, to re-check the villagers’ claim, another team would visit the village on Tuesday evening, he added.

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