Kurseong town and its suburbs are still in a panic mode following sightings of a leopard in and around the town area in the past few days.

To avoid any untoward incident, and working on the information and requests made by the local people, the forest department has set up a cage at the site near the town where locals reported sighting the wild animal frequently.

It is learnt that the local people are claiming that they are still sighting the leopard in residential areas of Kurseong town.

“The fear still looms large, as people these days go back home in the evenings a bit early, especially before night fall. Not only this, locals are thinking twice before venturing out of their houses at night,” a local man said.

“People are seen rushing home soon after sunset, while they are also keeping all doors and windows of their houses shut, mainly in the evenings, for fear of the leopard,” another local said.

In a few residential areas, people have also cleared the thick overgrowth around their houses and weeded out plants, so that the animal cannot take shelter there.

“As soon as we got information of someone sighting a leopard around one week ago, a team of forest official visited the site to inquire about the matter,” a forest official said. According to the official, they also held a meeting on the matter, and discussed the same with officials of the wildlife department.

“As per the locals, the animal they saw was a leopard, but we are yet to officially confirm this. However, we have set up a cage near a house, which is located at a strategic point, and where a few people had reported seeing the wild animal,” the forest official added.

A woman, Deepika, of Lower Park Location said that she woke up in the night to answer nature’s call on Saturday night last, and noticed an animal with a “long tail and that was black in colour.”