A wild leopard sauntered into the residential quarters of doctors and professors of the Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS), located about 7 km from Chamarajanagar town, on Wednesday night scaring the inmates.
But the leopard, which had reached the first floor of the residential complex, retreated down the stairs and disappeared.
CCTV footage shows the leopard racing along the corridor and going down the stairs. Within seconds, it reappears, looks into a room, backtracks and goes out of view again. One of the inmates, who sighted the leopard, alerted other residents. The Forest Department personnel have deployed guards to patrol the area.
Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar M.R. Ravi said the medical quarters abuts the Yadapura hillock and leopards are sighted in the area frequently. But it is unclear whether it is the same leopard or there are others living in the vicinity. He said the footage shows the leopard peeping into a room, which had its door open, and retreating from there and it was at that point – around 9.30 p.m. – that its presence was noticed.
Meanwhile, the Forest Department has placed a cage to trap the leopard inside the campus besides issuing a set of instructions to inmates.
Manoj Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests of Chamarajanagar, said the area surrounding the medical college campus has many open pits of abandoned quarries and leopards from the forests tend to use them as hideouts. One of them may have strayed into the residential quarters in search of prey and it is sheer providence that there was no untoward incident, he added.
The department has suggested that the open pits be reclaimed by filling it with soil followed by plantation. Mr. Kumar said his staff are preparing a report identifying the open quarries and will submit it to the district administration and the government.
Meanwhile, sources said the area around Yadapura hillock is a natural habitat for leopards and other wildlife. Approval for a slew of constructions, including government buildings, in this area have led to habitat degradation and squeezed the leopards to the periphery resulting in conflict situations.