Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Leopard sparked panic in India after wandering into hospital and cinema

A leopard has sparked panic in a north Indian city after wandering into a hospital, a cinema and an apartment block.

Authorities closed schools in Meerut, 37 miles (60km) north-east of New Delhi, after the leopard was discovered prowling the city's streets on Sunday, a senior city official said. "Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down. We have launched a massive hunt for the beast," said the additional district magistrate SK Dubey.

The big cat was found inside an empty ward of an army hospital on Sunday before wildlife officers were called and managed to fire a tranquiliser dart into the animal, Dubey said. "But despite that he managed to break [out through] the iron grills and escaped. He then sneaked into the premises of a cinema hall before entering an apartment block. After that we lost track of the cat," he said.

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Authorities have urged that markets be closed in the city of 3.5 million people until the animal is captured. Photographs in the Hindustan Times newspaper on Monday showed the leopard leaping off a terrace in a congested residential area of the city as people scrambled out of the way.

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