Three elephants will now search for the killer leopard that has claimed five lives so far and injured a dozen villagers in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor district.
According to forest officials, the elephants are trained to carry out search operations and comb sugarcane fields. Forest personnel, who will be sitting atop these elephants, will shoot tranquillizer darts on the leopard.
Divisional forest officer M. Semmaran said: "We are in touch with an NGO, Ahrawat, to hire trained jumbos. Three elephants are to be hired to comb the dense sugarcane fields. We will tranquilize the killer leopard by sitting on the elephants where our staff will be safe."
The forest officials are also preparing to shift leopard cubs to the zoo. Seven cubs had been rescued and sent to the zoo last year.
Meanwhile, on the basis of pug marks, forest officials have confirmed that the same big cat has killed five people since November 25.
The leopard, sources said, has been prowling around Mohandiya village for the past eight days.
Forest authorities have set up camera traps at Mohandiaya village and kept cages with bait to lure it.
Meanwhile, Abhibhavak Sangh (parents association) met the district magistrate on Saturday and demanded that schools in the jungle areas be shifted elsewhere for safety of the students.
Its convener Nrapendra Deshwal said: "We met District Magistrate Ramakant Pandey and demanded that security arrangements be made for children studying in the schools located in remote areas. Such schools can be shifted to safer places temporarily, till the killer leopard and other rogue big cats are caught."
There are around 800 primary and higher primary schools in the district which are located on the outskirt of villages and close to the farmlands. These schools do not have boundary walls.