Authorities closed schools in Meerut, 60km northeast of the Indian capital, after the leopard was discovered prowling the city’s streets, 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 additional district magistrate SK Dubey.
The cat was found inside an empty ward of an army hospital on Sunday before wildlife officers fired a tranquiliser dart into the animal.
“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,” Dubey said.
The animal was photographed leaping off a terrace in a congested residential area of the city as people scrambled out of the way.
Last week, a leopard killed a five-year-old boy in central Chhattisgarh state, the latest in a string of incidents raising concerns about depleting habitats for the cats, which was forcing them into populated areas.
Meanwhile, a tiger on the prowl in northern Uttar Pradesh state since last December is believed to have killed some 10 people with wildlife officials still trying to hunt it.