School employees were shocked and horrified to catch a glimpse of a massive male leopard roaming the halls of a wealthy suburban school in Southern India’s Bengaluru. Luckily, it all occurred during a holiday so there weren’t in children in the school at the time of the incident. But in the course of the ten-hour-long process to capture the leopard, six people were seriously injured by the frightened wild animal.
Security Cameras Capture 10-Hour Attempt to Subdue Lost Leopard
The school’s CCTV footage shows that the leopard entering through an open door at the Vibgyor International School at around 4 a.m. A security guard on duty saw the leopard enter the school on the security cameras and immediately alerted Bengaluru police. The arrival of officers on the scene frightened the leopard, who ran back out the door to hide in the landscaped bushes outside the school.
Shortly after, the leopard panicked again, and ran back into the school, looking for a place to hide. Several experts were called onto the scene to strategize the best method for capturing and relocating the animal.
But in the process, the leopard mauled several people in the school, including conservation scientist Sanjay Gubbi, forest department employee Benny Maurius, and a media photojournalist. Footage from the CCTV cameras show the leopard attacking a man who’d tried to corral the animal near the school’s gym swimming pool.
Leopard Tranquilized and Relocated to Nearby Rescue Center
Attempts to subdue the leopard lasted all day. The wild cat was injected with enough tranquilizers to render it incapacitated around 8:15 p.m. that night. After being checked out by a veterinarian staff, the animal was taken to a nearby animal rescue centre in the city’s Bannerghatta National Park.
All the injured persons in the leopard rescue efforts have been treated and are reported to be on the mend. Despite the unpleasant surprise of a wild male leopard finding its way into a school that’s normally full of unsuspecting children, environmental experts were not surprised that this happened.
Incident is Part of Rising Trend Resulting from Human Habitat Destruction, According to Experts
The school is on the edge of a range of forests, and experts say that the leopard likely wandered out of the forest, and became disoriented and frightened. This isn’t the first incident of wild animals, including major predatory cats, straying into populated areas on the fringes of the city of Bengaluru, most often in wealthy suburban areas.
Deforestation for farmland, suburban construction projects, and logging efforts have dramatically reduced the habitat for leopards and other wild animals throughout southern India. Reports of animals wandering into cities from forest edges are increasingly on the rise as human impact reduces their food sources and the animals are forced into populated areas.
Many disoriented animals like the leopard have starved, become injured in traffic, hurt or even killed humans, or have to be killed after they encroach into cities like Bengaluru.