The forest officials transported the leopard to the rescue centre at SGNP at 3.30 am. Pic/Kunal Chaudhuri
The forest department could have ended up spending far more than 40 days tracking the notorious leopard had it not been for a chance encounter with the very big cat just two days earlier.
Officials and volunteers had seen that despite placing camera traps all over Film City, the suspected leopard was never clicked near the cages set up. This made them suspect that it was avoiding those paths. Their breakthrough came on September 12, when Mayur Kamath, honorary wildlife warden of the city, and Imran Udat, a volunteer, were driving through Film City around 5.15 am.
A huge leopard crossed their path. The two parked the car slightly ahead and waited for 10 minutes till they saw the same leopard once again, boldly walking down the road. “We had a close encounter with the suspected leopard two days ago. Leopards are among the most elusive and shy animals, but this one was the opposite. This encounter gave me an insight into his behaviour and how we could catch him,” said Kamath.
“While the leopard was walking ahead, we noticed that it was marking its territory by spraying urine on tree trunks and was also seen making scrape marks on the ground and trees. This gave us the impression that this was his territory, and we decided to set the trap cage at the same location,” added Kamath.
The duo took pictures of the left flank of the leopard for identification.
Number of days they had been tracking the problem leopard
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