Bhubaneswar, Aug 7 (IANS) A leopard currently lodged at a zoo after being captured about a month ago in Odisha's Subarnapur district could be released into the wild soon, a minister said Tuesday.
"I'm keen on its freedom. This will be my first job. I will consult the officials how to send it back to the wild," Bijayshree Routray said after taking charge as the forest and environment minister Monday.
The male leopard had entered a shop in the district headquarters town of Sonepur, about 280 km from here July 4 from the nearby forest. The wild cat was rescued by forest and wildlife officials a day later and shifted to a forest department nursery in the same town.
The forest department had July 6 brought the caged animal to the residence of the district collector, where a "leopard show" was organised for the public.
The leopard was subsequently shifted to Nandan Kanan Zoo on the outskirt of state capital Bhubaneswar.
Wildlife activists had been accusing the government of violating the leopard rescue guidelines and Wildlife (Protection) Act which says such animals should be released into the wild and prohibits their display.
Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Odisha, had written to the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment last month seeking release of the leopard into the wild and actions against the officials concerned for the violation.