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Monday, February 8, 2016

“கற்கை நன்றே; Leopard comes visiting school

கல்வி கற்பது ஒன்றே ஒரு மனிதனின் வாழ்க்கைக்கு நன்மையைத் தரும்.  வெற்றிவேற்கை என்னும் நூலில் கல்வி சிறப்பு “கற்கை நன்றே; கற்கை நன்றே;  பிச்சை புகினும் கற்கை நன்றே” :  கற்பது ஒன்றே ஒரு மனிதனின் வாழ்க்கைக்கு நன்மையைத் தரும்  என  கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.

Education is most important  - only it can raise the standards of people and society. Importance of going to school needs no elaboration – but this school entry is different !

Leopards are graceful and powerful big cats closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars. They live in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India, and China. However, many of their populations are endangered, especially outside of Africa. The leopard is so strong and comfortable in trees that it often hauls its kills into the branches. By dragging the bodies of large animals aloft it hopes to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas. Leopards can also hunt from trees, where their spotted coats allow them to blend with the leaves until they spring with a deadly pounce.

Chikkamagaluru is a town in Karnataka,  located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri range, famous for its serene environment, lush green forests and tall mountains. Chikamagalur is also famous for coffee and is known as the 'coffee land' of Karnataka.  A few months back, a fierce animal pounced on three people and injured them before treading into school premises. To the shock of students and teachers, the  leopard entered into the premises of a private school in Chikkamagaluru. The school management had to  declare a  holiday.

Now on a Sunday, when students would not come to school, it was a leopard which entered a school in Bengaluru.  News reports in various papers state that a  leopard entered into Vibgyor School premises in Marathahalli Bangalore City on 7th  Feb 2016 Sunday.

The animal movement was recorded in CCTV cameras; later school staff spotted the big cat  at about 4am Sunday early hours. Vibgyor school night duty staff informed to school authorities. School authorities informed to the Marathahalli Local Police Station and the Police updated the news to the Forest officials. By early morning forest department personnel landed at the spot, armed with dart guns and tranquillizers. The leopard, which played hide and seek with the forest officials team and a huge number of villagers who were camping on adjacent buildings and tree tops, cut loose during the final stages of the operation to nab it around 6pm and attacked the wildlife expert, Sanjay Gubbi, who was assisting the authorities and the two media persons.

The forest department personnel were closing in on the leopard that had hid in one of the rooms of the school around 6pm when the big cat suddenly sprung out of the room and darted towards the swimming pool. The leopard attacked an unidentified person first but he managed to ward it off. Gubbi, who was at the other end of the swimming pool, too was taken by surprise when the leopard turned towards him. He immediately rushed towards the compound wall and tried to scale it. He was pulled down by the leopard, which then attacked him. Gubbi tried to chase away the animal using his binocular. By then it was shot with tranquilizer. The big cat suddenly turned its attention away from Gubbi and it ran towards the restroom inside which it collapsed.

Photo credit : Hindu Tamil

A couple of local newspapers reported it as ‘Cheetah’ too. Cheetahs and leopards are both big cats found in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Leopards have yellow fur while cheetahs are tan. Cheetahs are known to hunt their prey during daytime whereas Leopards generally hunt during the night. They also differ in other physical and behavioral characteristics. Cheetahs are known for their speed; they are one of the fastest animals on the planet.

A cheetah has a deep chest and a narrow waist, with short, coarse fur.  Leopards have relatively short legs, longs bodies and massive skulls with powerful jaw muscles.  Cheetahs are not known as man-eaters. They are far less aggressive than other big cats and have been kept as pets at different points in history, including by the Ancient Egyptians !  Leopards generally avoid people and prefer wild prey to humans, but injured or sickly leopards, or those who cannot find other prey, may attack humans. … they say that most leopards would ignore humans, if not disturbed and let alone !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                             8th Feb 2016

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