The area surrounding Narela Airport is under high-alert after patrol officers caught sight of a leopard in the security camera. The leopard was spotted near the Kendriya Vidyalaya school near Narela Air Force station base in Delhi. The sighting was immediately reported to the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS, a non-profit organisation for wildlife conservation. Forest Department officers, Wildlife Inspector V.B. Dasan and a survey team from Wildlife SOS have conducted a field inspection and survey to determine the presence of the spotted feline, as well as map its range, movements and territory, but, are yet to confirm its presence by pugmarks. Residents in the area are scared of an attack and the Air Force authorities have requested translocation of the animal as a measure for ensuring public safety. This measure has been vetoed by the Wildlife SOS and Forest Department officials, as relocating the big cat away from its natural habitat, believed to be the forest area near the station, will not be possible. Leopards are very territorial and are known to return to their original habitat in the event of translocation. Its current habitat is a dense forest and translocation or capture of the feline should be avoided to prevent man-animal conflict in future, warn leopard experts. In the meanwhile night-time patrolling has been increased, and residents have been advised to take precautionary measures of leopard avoidance behavior, like staying indoors after dark and keeping children, pets and livestock indoors after dusk. The leopard is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and is in the ‘vulnerable’ category in the IUCN Red Data list.
–As reported by The Hindu