After flamingos in Mumbai, 'nilgai' in Noida, dolphins in Meerut, it is now a leopard that has been spotted in Noorpur village in Gosainganj, on the outskirts of Lucknow.
The leopard was spotted by villagers, late on Thursday night after which the police was informed. The villagers blocked the opening of a tunnel pipe in which the big cat had taken refuge.
A local resident, Mohit Kumar, who had first spotted the leopard near the culvert said, "I ran for my life and informed the villagers and then the police. The leopard had also been spotted a few days ago in Sarojini Nagar area."
The forest officials, who were called in, tried to get the leopard out of his hiding but failed.
Assistant commissioner of police, Mohanlalganj, Sanjeev Sinha said a huge number of villagers had gathered around the culvert and we had a tough time trying to cordon off the area. The forest team has put a net on the end of the culvert so that whenever the feline comes out, it gets trapped in.
Zoo director R K Singh said, "The leopard is stuck deep inside the culvert and will take time to come out only when he sees that people are not around."
Singh said that the wild animals were straying into the urban areas mainly due to the lockdown and would move back into the forest areas once the lockdown was lifted and traffic was restored on the roads.
Meanwhile, in Bareilly district too, a leopard was spotted in Karimganj village two days ago. When a farmer saw the leopard, the big cat slipped back into the forest area.
Later, forest department staff confirmed the presence of the leopard on the basis of its pugmarks.
Similarly, pugmarks of a leopard were found at two different areas in Badaun. Chief conservator of forests, Rohilkhand zone, Lalit Verma said, "Apart from leopards and tigers, there have been numerous sightings of hyenas, jackals, deer, jungle cats and crocodiles in human settlements in the last one month. We have rescued many wild animals since the lockdown."
He further said, "Due to the lockdown, there is hardly any movement on roads and animals are moving around freely."