Terror leopard trapped

Jaigaon, Nov. 2: An adult male leopard that created panic in the Bhagatpur tea garden for more than three months was caught in a trap baited with a goat laid by the forest department.

The eight-year-old leopard, the second trapped in 38 days at the garden in Nagrakata, was later released at Gorumara National Park, 4km away.

Punia Lohar, a worker, was among the first to spot the leopard around 5.30am today, banging the cage trying to seek a way out. He informed the garden manager, J.K. Kaul, who got in touch with the forest range office at Khunia.

“The leopard that was caught today and the earlier one of around nine-year-old which was trapped on September 24 have been creating panic in the garden for the past three months. We had informed the foresters who had laid the trap in Section 19 of the estate 15 days ago,” Kaul said.

The manager said the big cats had been preying on the poultry and livestock that the garden workers owned. “Our daily plucking rate came down as the workers were scared of the attack by the leopards.”

Asha Oraon, another worker, echoed the manager. “Although the leopard had not attacked anyone of us, but the animal was taking away our goats and chicken,” she said.

Around 8am, the forest employees arrived and took the big cat (in picture by Biplab Basak) away in a tractor-trailer provided by the garden authorities.

“The leopard was released in Gorumara in the afternoon. The earlier one which was trapped on September 24 was also set free there,” said Nripendranath Saha, the range officer of Khunia.