rare species found|jon_downes|jon@cfz.org.uk|11/25/04 at 11:48:27|jon_downes|xx|0|172.190.223.182|http://tinyurl.com/5we6t

Statesman News Service

KRISHNAGAR, Nov. 23. — At a time when the Uttaranchal forest officials have found a dead leopard outside the Jim Corbett National Reserve Forest, the villagers of Kulgachi in Kotwali police station area in Nadia have caught a rare species of wild jungle cat. A fight among the male cats over the female ones during the mating season might have driven this jungle cat into the village.

The animal, about 2 ft high and 4 ft long, is now kept in an iron cage at Kulgachi village since last afternoon while the forest officials are yet to transfer it to the Bethuadahari Rescue Centre.

A villager, Mr Nimai Mondol, injured himself while trying to capture the animal in an agricultural field yesterday.

Kulgachi forest beat officer Mr Mr Amalendu Ray said: “It is a rare species and it would be transferred to the Bethuadahari Reserve Forest. The animal had strayed into the village probably in search of food. Like every year, thousands of migratory birds such as Samuk Khol have started flying in the village. Wild cats love their meat and so many cats come into the village every year. Another possible reason is that it might have taken refuge in the village after being driven out of forest owing to fights during the mating season.”

He also said: “The animal looks like a leopard with stripes all over the body. It can jump nearly 10 feet in the air and can run as fast as a leopard.”

Poragacha panchayat pradhan Mr Hari Bandhu Ray said: “The villagers, who were in the agricultural fields first noticed the animal around 2 p.m. yesterday and started to chase it. Being chased, it ran into a waterbody. Later, the villagers caught the animal with fishing nets.” ||