A leopard found injured near Devikere atop the Chamundi Hills in Mysuru was tranquilised and shifted to Bannerghatta in Bengaluru for treatment, on Monday.
The leopard was found to be struggling to heave itself from the place and local people who first sighted it around 8.45 a.m. informed the Forest Department. A team of officials including veterinarian Nagaraj reached the spot and found the animal in an aggressive mood.
It charged at the Forest Department personnel before retreating into the bushes which was when it was observed that the animal was dragging its hind legs.
It was decided to rescue the leopard and hence was tranquilised and shifted to Bannerghatta for treatment. Deputy Conservator of Forests K.C. Prashanth Kumar said the cause of the injury was yet to be ascertained though it was being bandied about that the leopard was injured in an ‘’hit and run’’ accident.
“Prima facie there was no external injury which tends to be visible if it is a case of accident. Only a closer examination followed by x-ray will help ascertain the nature of injury after which the cause could be speculated’’, said Mr. Prashanth Kumar. It was shifted to Bannerghatta as the Chamundi Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation centre at Koorgalli on the outskirts of Mysuru was full, he added.
Veterinarian Dr. Nagaraj who tranquilised the leopard said it was a female aged around 4 years. He said the injury could be due to a fight with another leopard in the vicinity, an accident or it could have suffered a fall while chasing a prey.
The operation was rendered difficult by the presence of a large crowd numbering more than 500 which had assembled there.
Chamundi Hills, a reserve forest, is a natural habitat for the leopard and it is reckoned that there are at least 6 of them in the area. But only three were sighted during the last camera trap exercise last year. They survive on natural prey including hares and feed on domestic cattle at the foothills or on stray dogs. Besides, the habitat is not an island eco-system and is linked through scrub jungles, paddy and sugarcane fields to other reserve forests which enable them to move from one place to another.