The Trapped Leopard left far away will come back!!
I am not an expert here but have been doing an extensive research on leopard lifestyles and behaviors for the last 12 months, I am writing here a few details, learning, and well as a few Dos and Don’ts. This is not to create panic as there is no need but as with anything in this world, there are Dos and Don’ts which we need to follow and which I have listed below. Following this is good for both us humans but more so for the leopards.
What really scares me is the fact that what I expected will happen really happened. The leopard is out of the cage (Captured leopard escapes from BBP – Dated Feb 16th 2016)
Forest department as expected says that it will merge with the forest (Bannerghatta Forest) as the prey base is good there. I love to believe this and I don’t want to create any unnecessary panic among already scared Bangaloreans, especially those who live in the outskirts.
But unfortunately studies have shown otherwise. The trapped leopard when left into the nearby forest (either as planned or accidentally as it has happened here) always try to get back to their homes. Leopards are highly territorial animals and these leopards found in the outskirts are used to living there and feeding on livestock, street dogs and are not adjusted to forest life and they like to come back to what they call their home.
There are instances of trapped leopard left into the wild 400 kms away have made it back to their home (Read more about this in this article: Living with Leopards Outside Protected Areas in India).
These leopards are nocturnal animals and hence all their movements will be in the night and hence you will see almost zero casualties of it while it is getting back to its home. (which is approx 50 kms). Also they are very human shy and you probably will never see it nor it will accost you nor will attack you. Leopards are not known to attack humans (unless they are cornered like it happened in that school as we all saw on the TV). They usually attack humans on their way if they see them crouched in the bushes (to relieve themselves) during late nights or children (again in the nights).
I don’t want to create panic among bangaloreans as leopard is the least of your worries but just to make sure everything is safe for everyone including for the leopard, let’s follow certain Dos and Don’ts for the next couple of weeks atleast and especially those who live in the outskirts,
- Parents, ensure your children are not alone in the night
- if you have dogs, ensure they are in enclosed cages in the ark hours
- adults, try not to go out to relieve yourself in the open during night times but of you have to go, go with company and preferably with a lantern and a stick
- if you still happen to see it, do not threaten it but just move away and inform the forest department
I hope this will be more of a helping guide than a panicking guide and I hope it comes across that way. Don’t worry as the leopard will never show itself or attack anyone in the day time and no one had to worry but just take these guidelines for the next couple of weeks and during night times and everything will be fine!!!!!
[Author is an avid Wildlife Photographer, conservator, been visiting forests from last two decades and now the CEO of WildTrails of India, a company which brings all of the facts, sanctuaries, animals and attached resorts to one platform.]
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