Leopard enters rest room close to Hingna, rescued after 5-hr ops

NAGPUR: A leopard strayed into an unoccupied house in densely populated Police Nagar area, adjoining Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Digdoh, and was cornered in a bathroom early on Sunday morning. It was tranquillized and captured, and later released in Hingna range the same evening.
The leopard, around 3 years old, was first sighted around 8.30am by Akash Rangari, a student, visiting his vacant house with some labourers for painting work. Located on the edge of the locality, Rangari’s plot is open from three sides, with the compound wall of his neighbour on the fourth side. The area is crowded with flat schemes and concrete structures, and it is difficult to understand how a leopard entered the area.

“When I entered the house with labourers, I was shocked to see the big cat right in front of me. As we retreated, there was a commotion and the leopard jumped over the wall and sneaked into Bayskar’s bathroom. It did not attack us,” Rangari told TOI.

When Rangari told Bayskar that a leopard had entered his house, he didn’t believe him, and laughed. “I had been asleep. When I peeped inside the bathroom, I was shocked awake on seeing the leopard hiding there,” said Bayskar.

“My bathroom door does not even have a latch from the outside. I raised an alarm and held on to the door handle tightly. We placed a wooden plank to block the exit and informed the police,” he said.

By the time forest officials and veterinary doctors reached the spot at 12 noon, a crowd of almost 5,000 people had gathered, kept at bay by the police. A rapid rescue unit (RRU) from Amravati was also summoned. Honorary wildlife warden Kundan Hate and Monu Singh of Vidarbha Sarpamitra Samiti assisted the rescue teams.

Nagpur deputy conservator (DyCF) G suspect the big cat must have strayed from Mihan or Hingna side. “As the spot was crowded, it took the experts almost five hours to tranquillize the leopard. The operation started at 12 noon and ended at 4.45pm,” he said.

Mallikarjuna said the leopard was shifted to for medical examination by wildlife vets Dr Vinod Dhoot and Dr Gautam Bhojne. The leopard was administered saline and released in Hingna range later in the evening.

There are conflicting claims about who darted the leopard. Eyewitnesses said the first two darts fired by wildlife veterinarians missed the leopard. The third dart was fired by rescue unit forest guard Amol Gawner, which hit the leopard. Gawner has earlier rescued six leopards and four sloth bears.

This is perhaps the first incident of a leopard sneaking into a crowded locality near Nagpur. “It is possible the leopard strayed out of the forest in search of water and prey,” said , Central India director of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

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