Tirupati: Andhra Pradesh forest department has released one of the four leopards captured on pedestrian walkway to the Tirumala temple into the forest and shifted another to Visakhapatnam Zoo after it was
confirmed that they were not responsible for the death of a six-year-old girl last month.
The forest officials released a leopard in Gundla Brahmeswaram Sanctuary and shifted another leopard to Indira Gandhi Zoo in Visakhapatnam.
A forest official said the decision was taken after a DNA test report from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) confirmed that these leopards had not mauled the girl to death.
The two felines were captured by the forest officials on August 14 and 17.
The official said DNA test reports of the remaining two leopards were awaited.
Lakshitha (6) was attacked by a leopard while she was walking to Tirumala along the Alipiri footpath on August 11 evening. Her body was found behind Narasimha Swamy temple the next morning.
Following the incident, the forest department has set up cages and launched an operation called ‘Operation Chirutha’.
A leopard was trapped in the cage on the trekking route on August 14.
Three days later another leopard was caught.
While the third leopard was captured on August 28 near Seven Miles, the fourth was trapped on September 7.
All the leopards were shifted to SV Zoo Tirupati.
Earlier, the forest department had trapped a leopard on June 25, three days after a three-year-old boy was attacked by a wild cat. The animal had tried to drag the boy into the forest but it was chased by pilgrims and security personnel.
After the August 11 incident, the temple body had beefed up security along with Forest and Police departments at all the vulnerable points along the footpath route to the temple.