Leopard prowls through cinema and hospital

A leopard leaps across a terrace in a residential area as a bystander jumps out of the way in Meerut, northern India. The beast is still on the loose.

A leopard sparked panic in a north Indian city when it strayed inside a hospital, a cinema and an apartment block before evading captors, an official said.

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.


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