New Delhi: Delhi's lone leopard, spotted in Yamuna biodiversity Park recently, is likely to be shifted to neighbouring Uttarakhand's Rajaji National Park by the city government, as the animal that has strayed from Haryana, may "pose danger" to people in nearby areas.
However, the decision, taken a day after a leopard was hacked to death by angry villagers in Gurgaon's Sohna area, has left the authorities of the DDA-run Park (under Centre) in a quandary as the leopard's presence had thrilled ecologists and scientists alike.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain said the sighting of the wild cat was a "good indicator of quality forest area", while expressing concern that lack of security measures may pose danger to people residing in nearby areas.
"It is my dilemma as an ecologist. We are here to address the trophic structure and the presence of the leopard completes it. Its presence ensures a complete food chain and gives us satisfaction that we are doing things right," Faiyaz Khudsar, scientist in-charge at the park, told PTI.
When contacted, Delhi's Chief Wildlife Warden AK Shukla, who is the custodian of all animals within the boundaries of the national capital under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, said the decision was taken considering the fact that stray animals tend to get ferocious after one point.
"It has strayed from its group. And shifting it becomes important especially after what happened in Gurgaon. We are trying to pinpoint its location and will try to release it in the Rajaji National Park," Shukla said.
Hussain instructed the forest department to make all efforts to "catch" the leopard alive with the help of Central Zoo Authority.
Two wildlife inspectors have been deputed to inspect the Yamuna biodiversity Park area to find the pug marks for actual assessment of age of the leopard.
A cage, with a bait, will be placed once the location of the animal is identified, Shukla said.
"Leopard is a free ranging (not captive) animal and it should remain free ranging. It should be released somewhere in an protected area," Khudsar said.