Bengaluru: Leopard scare in Whitefield

Bengaluru: Senior forest and police department officials rushed to Whitefield on Tuesday night after locals claimed that they spotted leopards prowling in the area.

Forest department officers and police told Deccan Herald that they had not sighted the animals, but had taken all precautionary measures as a leopard was caught from Vibgyor school, Varthur, after a 10-hour operation on Sunday. Combing was carried out in Whitefield and surrounding areas. Residents were requested to stay indoors.

The officers said there was tension because a photo of a leopard taken from a mobile had been making the rounds on social media and local TV channels were beaming the same. Residents burst crackers and made bonfires to scare away the animals.

Residents of Whitefield and surrounding areas faced some anxious moments following the rumours about leopard sighting on Tuesday.

Two days after a stray leopard ran amok at a City school, the rumours of leopard sighting triggered panic among the residents. A few locals said that they sighted two big cats at several places including Saraswathi Building on Whitefield Main Road, Naloorahalli near Mariyamma Temple and behind Gopalan Labour Colony. However, after a thorough search, the Forest department officials and the police found out that ‘leopard sighting’ was just a rumour.

Veeranna Nenlarahalli, a security guard and a resident of Gopalan Labour Colony, said that his children saw the leopard when they had gone to relieve themselves at noon. There are around 300 houses in the colony and they all fear for their safety, he added.

Similarly, Saraswathi, a resident of Naloorahalli who went to answer nature’s call, said that she saw the leopard at a distance of 100 metres. Manjunath Pattegna, a member of Miditha Foundation, said that people claim that they saw the leopard near the eucalyptus grove in the vicinity. Though the locals claim that they spotted the leopard at around 12 noon, they informed the local police only at 3 pm.

“We have cordoned off the area. There is no leopard. It is just a rumour. We have told the locals to be careful and watchful. We have told them not to spread rumours,” said a police official. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Ravi Ralph, too said it was just a rumour.

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