Leopard, which escaped from its cage in a zoo in Bengal, tranquilised after 18 hours
The leopard, which managed to escape from the Junglemahal Zoological Park at Jhargram in south Bengal on Thursday evening, was spotted and tranquilised after a search operation that stretched for almost 18 hours on Friday.
“The female leopard, which managed to escape from its enclosure, was found inside the zoo premises. It was tranquilised. It is doing fine. But, as we had to tranquilise it, two veterinarians are monitoring it. It will be returned to its cage soon,” said Debal Ray, chief wildlife warden of West Bengal.
There are two adult leopards and two cubs in the Junglemahal Zoological Park, located around 180 km west of Kolkata.
There was panic in Jhargram town after officials of the mini zoo found on Thursday evening that the female leopard had managed to escape. The zoo is located around two kilometres away from the town.
Featuring forests and hilly terrains, Jhargram district is part of the Junglemahal area covering the western parts of Bengal and the state of Jharkhand. These terrains were a haven for Maoist guerrillas operating in Bengal till 2011.
After a night long search operation, forest officials spotted pugmarks of the leopard close to the zoo. Cages to trap the animal were also set up in the area. Four teams were deployed and senior officials rushed to the spot.
By late morning on Friday, the officials became certain that the leopard was hiding in the wooded area inside the zoo premises. The area was cordoned off and by around 1:30 pm the animal was tranquilised.
The zoo remains closed on Thursdays. Zoo employees found the cage empty at about 6 pm. The district forest officials started alerting the local people while making announcements on loudspeakers. Civic volunteers in the area were alerted on Whatsapp messages, who in turn helped to alert the locals.