COIMBATORE December 3: A leopard entered a school in Valparai spreading panic among the students and teachers on Wednesday.
A group of students who went to the bathroom located on campus spotted the beast lurking nearby and raised an alarm. The school headmaster informed the local anti-poaching squad personnel who in turn alerted the forest officials. By the time forest ranger rushed to the spot, the leopard had fled.
“The students of the panchayat union primary school of Nallakathu Estate had spotted the leopard near the classroom building in the afternoon,” said a police official from the Valparai station. A group of students had gone to the bathroom at 2 pm. While a few of the students were using the toilet, their classmates waiting outside spotted the beast. They ran to their classroom and informed their teacher. As both students and teachers began running helter-skelter on campus in panic, the leopard may have disappeared, the police official said. The school has 80 students studying up till Class 5.
Forest officials said that the school was properly fenced and there was no need to panic. “The school has a 6ft-high fence. There is no way a leopard could have entered the campus. It may have been roaming near the school building,” said forest ranger K Arivoli. He said that garbage from the school was dumped near the fence and the smell of egg shells could have attracted the animal.
Forest department officials have spoken to the school authorities and estate administrators, asking them not to dump garbage especially meat wastes. We have deputed four people in the area to curb the movement of animals near the school. We have also asked the teachers to be vigilant,” said Arivoli.