A full-grown leopard, believed to be a male, was found dead at a forest fringe area, abutting the fields at Guttivaripalle village of Peddapanjani mandal under the Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary zone, 15 km from Palamaner.
Some shepherds spotted the carcass of the leopard in a stockade of thorny bushes at the buffer zone on Monday evening.
They informed the matter to village sarpanch, who, in turn, passed on the message to the forest officials.
The residents said a leopard had been on the prowl close to the village for the last one month, jeopardising the safety of livestock. They suspect the carcass to be that of the same leopard.
Divisional Forest Officer S. Ravi Shankar confirmed that a leopard was found dead “under mysterious circumstances.” He said the carcass would be retrieved on Tuesday and a post-mortem would be performed.
“Going by the version of the villagers, and the animal’s continuous presence in the vicinity of the human habitat, the leopard could be sick trying to prey on the livestock. It could also be due to wildlife diseases. At the same time, we can’t rule out human intervention. The cause of the death could be ascertained only after postmortem,” the official said.
This is the third leopard to be found dead in Chittoor district in 2021. Earlier, two leopards were killed after getting caught in snares at Talakona forests of Tirupati wildlife division in July and at Tavanampalle mandal of Chittoor west division in October.
Meanwhile, an eight-member herd of wild elephants from Tamil Nadu crossed into Gudupalle mandal near Kuppam on Sunday night, trampling standing crops of vegetables at Sodiganipalyam village. At a paddy field, a farmer Venkatesh and his family had a lucky escape when the jumbos gave them a chase. The herd reporteldy stomped a heap of paddy bags, besides feeding on the standing crop and trampling a vast stretch of the fields.