The killing of dozens of sheep possibly by a pack of wolves in Niali and adjacent areas of Odisha’s Cuttack district has triggered panic among villagers, who have been spending sleepless nights for over two weeks now.Despite the Forest department personnel attributing these deaths to attack by wild animals, villagers suspect that a ‘mysterious creature’ is behind the killings. The Cuttack Rural Police have asked villagers to form defence committees comprising volunteers and police personnel to check such attacks.The Animal Disease Research Institute, Odisha, has collected samples of sheep carcasses for study. In most of the carcasses, intestines had bulged out while the liver was not in place, indicating attacks by wild animals. Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Minister Damodar Rout said there were reports of 150 sheep being killed by wild animals. “Wolves are present near the Vanaragarh forest patch close to Niali. Sheep has no defence mechanism. Wolves are devouring its liver because it is soft,” said Prasanta Kumar Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar city division.Two traps set“To dispel doubts, we have set up two traps. From the pug marks, we have identified the animals to be wolves,” said Mr. Mishra. The forest department is now considering installing cameras.“We have advised villagers to keep the sheep in well protected sheds. As the sheep are left in the open, it becomes easy for the wolves to attack them,” the City Division DFO said.