TIRUMALA: In the wake of the tragic incident where a six-year-old girl named Lakshitha was fatally attacked by a leopard on the Alipiri walkway, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has taken swift action to enhance security measures. A collaborative effort between the TTD and the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department has been set in motion to ensure the safety of devotees and prevent such incidents in the future.
Following an emergency meeting held in Tirumala on Saturday, TTD Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening vigilance along the Alipiri route to Narasimhaswamy temple. Reddy detailed the deployment of guards stationed at 10-meter intervals on the Alipiri walkway, underlining the commitment to devotees’ safety. In light of recent events, the possibility of temporarily closing the walkway during the night is also being considered. However, Reddy noted the potential challenges associated with night closure, particularly in terms of providing necessary resources to devotees who undertake the night journey.
Reddy emphasized the need for caution, especially for parents walking with children on the Alipiri path. He urged parents to be vigilant and take necessary precautions, including walking in groups and continuously chanting prayers to deter wild animals. Reflecting on a similar incident in June 2023, where a leopard attack was thwarted by alert devotees, Reddy stressed the importance of staying within designated areas to minimize such risks.
On the other hand, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Nageswara Rao and divisional forest officer Satish Kumar inspected the location where the tragic incident occurred. They outlined plans to trap and capture the wild animal responsible for the attack. Establishing a base camp for operations, the forest officials discussed employing specific methods based on the type of animal encountered. Tranquilizer darts for bears and bone traps for larger cats are among the strategies considered. Advanced technology such as drone cameras and trap cameras will be employed to monitor wildlife movement on the seven hills.
As a preventative measure, a high alert zone spanning from the seventh milestone at Alipiri to the Narasimha Swamy temple will be established. This initiative aims to ensure the safety of pilgrims and minimize potential interactions between devotees and wild animals. Amidst these actions, the tragic loss of young Lakshitha serves as a somber reminder of the importance of heightened vigilance and responsible behavior in the revered Tirumala hills.