A leopard entered a school in Bangalore, India, on Sunday and injured as many as six people as it roamed around campus. Luckily, the school was not open, so it was not full of students during what could have been a far more destructive incident (video of the situation is available at bottom of article).
However, there were people on the grounds when the leopard arrived, and still more came to the scene in a bid to capture the wild animal.
The leopard, an 8-year-old male, entered the Vibgyor International school grounds at approximately 4 a.m. on Sunday. A group of security personal confirmed the entry of the leopard via closed circuit TV (CCTV). The security guards decided to contact the forestry department workers to come down to the school in hopes they could capture the leopard.
“It was a long struggle to capture the leopard,” police official S. Boralingaiah told The Independent. “Although it was injected with tranquilizers it could be captured only around 20.15 local time when the medication took full effect.”
Indeed, the quest to capture and subdue the leopard proved far more difficult than one might have imagined.
The forestry department formed two teams to hunt over the school grounds to find the wandering leopard. The leopard was originally seen around 4 a.m., but then disappeared from CCTV view for about two hours. He then reappeared, only to disappear again until mid-afternoon. Once the animal was located, officials chased it into a bathroom, and thought it was safely contained.
Unfortunately, the leopard was not safely contained. It managed to escape through an air conditioner vent into the pool area.
Officials decided to use a tranquilizer on the big cat in order to make the capture easier and safer. Two people were injured while trying to tranquilize the animal. One person injured was Sanjay Gubbi, a conservation scientist, and the other was a forest department employee Benny Maurius.
However, once the leopard was shot with the tranquilizer it seemed to have the opposite effect. The cat appeared to become very panicked and looked like it would be attacking anyone in its vicinity. People ran from the pool area to get to safety.
This big leopard did not give up easily. He was shot with the tranquilizer around 6:30 p.m., but the drugs did not take their full effect until around 8:15 p.m. During that time another four people were mauled by the big cat. One man was dragged down off a wall by the leopard as the man was trying to climb to safety.
The panicked leopard was finally captured at around 8:15 p.m. Officials stated that the animal will be taken to a natural park and released back into the wild, reports the BBC, which notes that habitat loss has caused a rise in leopard-human clashes.
Wildlife chief of Karnataka state, Ravi Ralph, told the BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi that the leopard possibly strayed into the school from a patch of forest not far from the school. Ralph also indicated to CNN that approximately 1,500 leopards inhabited the Karnataka area, but he also maintained that they rarely venture into cities.
Per CNN, based on information obtained from Ralph, “An injured forest department official had been released from the hospital, while a wildlife scientist who suffered chipped bones in the attack was undergoing treatment.”
According to reports, the other hurt individuals only sustained minor injuries.
It is estimated by the Wildlife Institute of India that there are between 12,000 and 14,000 leopards in India. Therefore, as their land is lost to humans, there will probably be more reports such as these in the future.
Hopefully, local authorities will be better prepared to respond to similar incidents in the future.