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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Leopard rescued in an hour long operation

The 45-kilogram leopard suffered a superficial injury, but no deep cuts. Officials said the big cat will heal and be released in the early hours of Saturday.

gurugram Updated: Aug 09, 2019 23:44 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Gurugram
Wildlife officials said the 45-kg male leopard would heal soon, and would be released in the early hours of Saturday.
Wildlife officials said the 45-kg male leopard would heal soon, and would be released in the early hours of Saturday.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
         

In one of the fastest such operations in the state, a three-year-old male leopard was rescued at the end of an-hour long operation after the animal entered a residential area in Badshahpur on Friday. The leopard was safely rescued without using tranquilliser, officials said.

The 45-kilogram leopard suffered a superficial injury, but no deep cuts. Officials said the big cat will heal and be released in the early hours of Saturday.

On November 24 last year, a two-and-a-half-year-old leopard was beaten to death by residents at Mandawar village in Sohna after it strayed into a residential area. Since then, residents across the district have reported leopard sightings several times.

Friday’s incident took place in an area around 3.25km from Bhondsi forest.

Within minutes, news had spread of a leopard in the locality, and residents armed with sticks and plastic pipes reached the spot. On seeing a crowd gather around, the animal turned aggressive and attacked a 36-year-old man — Rajesh Yadav — who was trying to control the crowd.

Around 3pm, a leopard entered a residential compound. “My wife spotted the big cat and thought it was a big monkey, because the area is known for a monkey menace. On realising it was a leopard, she raised an alarm, after which we informed the police and wildlife officials,” said Rajender Singh Yadav (67), whose compound the leopard entered.

Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered and the animal jumped from the terrace of the double-storey building into a lane and entered a barbershop.

“When it came in front of me , I screamed and fled out of the shop, and all the customers rushed out as well,” said Sajid Ali, a barber.

Residents said they suspect the animal may have wandered into the area from the Sohna side on Thursday night, and hid in the basement of a house facing the main Sohna Road in Badshahpur.

A team of five wildlife officials, led by Anil Gandas, and 20 police personnel from Badshahpur police station worked to capture the leopard. The police cordoned off the area, but said crowd management was a challenge. “People wanted to record the rescue operation and were not ready to leave. Though we were ready with the tranquilliser, the animal got aggressive, and we could not take a chance. Awareness needs to be spread that an animal needs a safe passage out of an area during operations like this. People were attempting to take pictures and make videos, which can be dangerous,” Gandas said.

Vinod Kumar, additional principal chief conservator of forests, said the animal took cover under the table inside the barbershop. “Our teams were directed to ensure the safety of the big cat and a veterinary doctor was immediately sent in with a tranquilliser. Another team was sent to track the animal’s movement from the exit.”

The leopard did not move for 20 minutes, following which we had to use a long plastic pipe to ensure he came out. We used four 20-foot-long nets to cover the exit,” he said.

“A complete body check-up and blood sampling has been done at the wildlife office. Once the big cat is fit, it will be released,” Gandas said.

Rao Narbir Singh, forest and PWD minister visited the office where the animal was kept. “The operation was carried out professionally, and it is one of the most successful rescue operations, done within an hour by the team. The teams involved in the rescue operation will be rewarded,” he said.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 21:56 IST

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