A leopard that strayed into the Meerut cantonment area attacked at least two labourers at a construction site on Wednesday morning, injuring them.
Wildlife officials said the animal, which had entered the militarised zone the previous day, was still at large despite attempts by a Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) team to catch it.
The WTI team reportedly shot three tranquiliser darts at the leopard on Tuesday night, while it was resting on a tree on the military hospital campus. However, the animal managed to escape in the dark.
WATCH (12/04/2016): Leopard attack caught on camera in Meerut (UP)https://t.co/mzr7DNbf6O— ANI (@ANI_news) April 13, 2016
Later, the leopard resurfaced at a construction site in the cantonment’s Fazalpur area. “The animal hid in the midst of the semi-constructed flats and attacked labourers when they arrived in the morning to work,” said divisional forest officer (DFO) Manish Mittal.
It then went off in search of a safer hideout, he added.
Meanwhile, Meerut district magistrate Pankaj Yadav declared the day off for schools in the locality to prevent an accidental encounter with the leopard.
The animal was first spotted by a hospital staffer near a military hospital in Chhavani area on Tuesday morning. Frightened by the commotion, the leopard climbed a banyan tree and remained there until WTI officials tried to nab it after dark.
Mittal said that efforts by the police and the army to rescue the leopard were hampered considerably by the huge number of people who gathered at the scene. “Moving closer to the animal in these circumstances would have been dangerous,” he said, adding that they were still unaware how it had entered the cantonment area in the first place.
A similar incident was witnessed in the area two years ago, when a leopard entered a log cabin in Sadar area and then escaped from the scene. The entire city was kept on alert for over a week, during which the animal disappeared mysteriously.