Forest officials fitted a tracking collar on a leopard and released it in the South Rydak Range of the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in Alipurduar district today. It is learnt that the leopard, which had been spreading terror among people, was caught in the Turturi tea garden in the district on Thursday.

Forest sources said they had laid a cage there after local people reported frequent leopard sightings in the garden. “One female leopard of around four years of age and captured from the Turturi TG has been radio-collared and released successfully today in the South Rydak Range (in the East Division of the forest),” said the Field Director of the BTR, Subhankar Sengupta.

Forest officials said that this was the second time that they had released a leopard fitted with the chip, and that the radio collar will help them study the behaviour of the animal.

It is learnt that the initiative was taken by the state forest department, in association with the Wildlife Institute of India. Sources said that the Wildlife Institute has been studying leopard behaviour across the country and that the same exercise has also been carried out in the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in this region.

“We can get so much information related to the leopard, like where it goes, and if it returns to the tea garden. “These kinds of exercises are very important for wildlife conservation,” BTR’s East Division Deputy Field Director, Shri Harish, said.