Tirupati: A leopard, which mauled a six-year-old girl to death on the Alipiri footpath route to Tirumala temple three days ago, was caught by the forest department personnel early Monday.
The animal was trapped in one of the cages near Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. It was at the same place that the leopard had attacked the girl who was walking ahead of her parents on August 11evening.
The leopard sustained minor injury while it was trapped into the cage. It will be shifted to Tirupati SV Zoo Park, said Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy.
The official said the leopard will be treated at the Zoo, where the experts will also conduct a test to determine if it has turned maneater or not. The forest department will subsequently decide on where to release the leopard.
After the August 11 incident, the temple body has beefed up security along with Forest and Police departments at all the vulnerable points along the footpath route to Tirumala temple.
The forest department along with trained personnel had kept two cages ready along with tranquilisers.
Officials said the movement of leopard was sighted at five places, including three three places near Alipiri to Galigopuram, at Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple and at the 38th Turning on Saturday night.
Lakshitha (6) was attacked by the leopard while she was walking to Tirumala along the Alipiri footpath on Friday. She was walking far ahead of her parents Dinesh and Sasikala.
Her parents searched for her in vain and alerted the TTD officials. The girl’s body was found behind Narasimha Swamy temple on Saturday morning.
This was the second incident on the same footpath route in two months. A three-year-old boy, who was trekking to Tirumala along with his parents, was attacked and injured by a leopard on the night of June 22 near the 7th mile. The animal had tried to drag the boy into the forest but it was chased by pilgrims and security personnel.
Three days later, the leopard was trapped in a cage by the forest department near the same spot.
After the latest incident, the TTD decided not to allow pilgrims with children aged below 15 years after 2 p.m. to trek on both the footpath routes to Tirumala temple.
The TTD, which manages the affairs of the famous hill shrine, decided to allow pilgrims with children aged below 15 years from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. only to trek on both the footpath routes.
In another important decision, the movement of the two-wheelers has also been banned from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
TTD Chairman B. Karunakara Reddy will hold a high-level meeting with the TTD Executive Officer, District Collector and Superintendent of Police on Monday to discuss the measures to be taken in view of the safety of the pilgrims in both the footpath routes and Ghat roads.