Leopard on the loose: seven people mauled in India



A leopard on the loose in the northern Indian town of Meerut is causing panic and chaos. SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

Schools and colleges have been shut after the animal reportedly hurt up to seven people.

It was first spotted in a warehouse on Sunday, before roaming into a hospital, where it was hit with a tranquilliser dart but escaped through a lattice wall.

A number of policemen and wildlife experts have been deployed to track it down.


District forest officer Sushant Kumar told the BBC: "We are yet to locate the leopard. We have got calls from some areas but are still unable to trace its exact location."

Onkar Singh, senior superintendent of police, said curious bystanders were putting themselves in harm's way and impeding the mission to catch the animal. He told the Daily Mail: "We urged the public not to go near the animal, but they went close out of curiosity and the animal attacked them, inflicting minor injuries."

Meerut is a two-hour drive from the capital, Delhi. It is believed the leopard strolled into town from a nearby forest.

Conservation group WWF called for better management of forests and other habitats for India's leopard population.

Deepankar Ghosh of WWF India told AFP: "Leopards are large territorial mammals, they need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface.

"We can't put all the leopards into cages. We can't remove all the people living near forested areas. We have to manage the situation the best way we can."

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