Tension gripped N. Belthur village in H.D.Kote taluk, bordering Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, after a leopardess yesterday attacked five villagers and then holed up in a house.

It was, however, captured after a four hour-long high drama before being released back into the Kaimara forest in Kerala border but not before angry villagers attacked a forest official for the alleged slow response of the department.

The drama began at around 6 am when the wild cat was first sighted near the residence of one Raja, a member of a band troupe. After roaming in the area for about half-an-hour and attacking five persons — Rani, Akkamma, Krishnegowda, Somaiah and Venkatesh — it leaped into Raja’s house. Luckily, the members of his family managed to come out of the house soon after the leopardess entered a room through the window.

Tension prevailed for more than five hours till the leopardess was tranqulised and captured at around 11.30 am under the supervision of Veterinarian K.S. Umashankar and the oficials had to remove a tile in the roof to shoot the tranquiliser at the wild cat.

Meanwhile, Range Forest Officer (Wildlife) Poovaiah, Forest staff Renukamurthy, Rajegowda, Chikkanna and Nagesh were attacked by angry villagers with clubs over the alleged delay in the capture operation.

Both the forest staff and villagers who were injured in the incident were admitted to H.D. Kote govt. hospital.

ACF K.D. Belliappa, who is the In-Charge Director of Tiger Reserve, said that the two-year-old leopardess had entered the village in the territorial forest region and attributed the delay in operation to surging crowds.

He further said that the injuries sustained by the villagers in the leopardess attack were minor in nature and added that the department had taken measures to give them compensation.

Even though it is territorial forest, the Wildlife Division Officer will attend to issues related to wildlife in the village, he added.

H.D.Kote Police said that they have so far not received any complaint with regard to the attack on the RFO.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore