Obviously, officials at ICRISAT want the Big Cat removed from the area. While the leopard hasn’t attacked anyone until now – it’s been on-campus for about three-four months – one doesn’t know what can break that streak.
Seasoned Forest Department officials who helped rehabilitate many a leopard and wild dog, snake and any other hapless beast that happened to stray into the city are baffled by this Big Cat’s behavior. “It doesn’t show the usual cat-like behavior,” is what they’ve said once, twice, thrice … over and over and over again.
Usual cat-like-behavior would be coming back to finish devouring his kill (it's how hunters/poachers track Big Cats), subsisting on more than just porcupine, peafowl and hare, and eating about five-to-six pounds a day. This six or seven-year male leopard eats about a quarter of that amount every day.
Here is how a forest department official described one attempt to get the animal in a squeeze cage – a goat was tethered to a tree by the cage so that when animal came to get the goat, it could be trapped. On seeing the leopard, this “self-respecting goat” raised itself on his hind legs and got close to butting the animal. The Big Cat ran away and the goat went on to lead a free life.
On another occasion, two dogs were used as bait. Leopards like dog meat. But this Cat befriended those canines. For quite a few days, the Big Cat was preceded and followed by his guard dogs. A couple days later, the dogs were seen in another part of campus, sans leopard.
Forest Department officials were offered “help” on “catching” this leopard from a “marksman.” In their wisdom, officials told the “marksman,” they didn’t need his services anymore, about a week after he started “following” the animal. Kudos, to those officials.
This Big Cat gets through snares with the agility of a tightrope walker, avoids traps like a well-traveled tourist and lives like a hermit. In a city such as Hyderabad, once a part of a booming Andhra Pradesh, now on fast-track to becoming but a shadow of its former glory, where concrete jungle is the norm of the day; environment/nature/wild is not even a blip on the radar of most people and none of the politicians, this animal is perhaps a new breed. The kind it takes to survive in this city – and this country.
It sure is a sad thing that such divine animals as leopards, tigers, lions, rhinos and other charismatic creatures are found in some of the most economically and politically unstable parts of the world.
It would be a dream to radio-collar this animal as well as his ilk, and study them ... understand their habit and habitat – help them live and thrive.