Bengaluru

Leopard enters Bengaluru school, injures two

The leopard attacking Sanjay Gubbi, a wildlife conservationist. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.  

On a day when its students were enjoying their weekly holiday, a school near Whitefield was the centre stage for a tense encounter between Forest officials and a leopard on Sunday. During the nearly 10-hour-long drama, two people were injured before the leopard was tranquilised on the school premises.

Around 4 a.m., the security at Vibgyor High in Marathahalli suspected that a leopard had broken into the school premises. CCTV camera footage showing the big cat skulking through the corridors of the school and even entering the kitchen, confirmed their fear. Forest Department staff were called in, and two teams were formed to scour the school.

“It was an 8-year-old full-grown male leopard. It may have strayed from the open forests near Whitefield, and once strayed, it could not go back,” said Ravi Ralf, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife).

For the most part of the morning, there was no sign of the leopard within the school. However, after officials spotted it in a neighbouring copse — which they said was common for a leopard that has lost its way. But as they approached it, the trapped feline fled across an empty field and leapt back into the school.

“We tried to lock it in a room, but the windows close to the roof were covered by a flimsy mesh. It managed to push its way outside and leap to another room. Even there, it pushed through the mesh and leapt out… those were anxious moments,” said Mr. Ralf.

The tense drama took a violent turn when Forest officials shot the leopard with tranquiliser darts. But before the tranquiliser could kick in, the trapped feline, perhaps scared by the presence of the men surrounding it, went on an attacking spree.



In panic, it started to charge at Forest officials inside the school. One of the people attacked was wildlife conservationist Sanjay Gubbi, who had been called to the scene by Forest Department officials. He tried to escape by scaling a wall but was dragged down by the leopard, which then bit him in the arm even as he tried to fend off its attacks. In the melee, a driver was also among the injured.

Wildlife conservationist Sanjay Gubbi tried to escape by scaling a wall but was dragged down by the leopard.

Eventually, the drugged leopard made its way to a changing room and collapsed there. After an hour of waiting, and confirming that the leopard was in fact asleep, it was covered with a net and taken out of the school.

“It is being kept for treatment and observation at the rescue centre of the Bannerghatta Biological Park,” said Santosh Kumar, Park Director. The Forest Department will take a call on its relocation on Monday.

Previous incidents



February 17, 2015: A leopard was run over by an unidentified vehicle on NICE Road, near Kanakapura Road turn-off



August 22, 2014: An adult leopard was caught at Dasanahalli on Magadi Road on the outskirts of the city. For over a month, the leopard was frequently sighted in the area, and had apparently killed five livestock animals and three dogs



June 2014: A leopard spotted at an apartment complex as well as in the school on Kanakapura Road



May 2014: Another sighting at an apartment complex close to the Electronics City turn-off of NICE Road



February 2014: Leopard trapped near Tavarakere village on the outskirts of the city. Traps were laid after residents had sighted three leopards in the area



Timeline



4 a.m.: Leopard enters Vibgyor School at Marathahalli. Though seen entering in CCTV camera footage, confirmation is not there whether it has continued to remain in the school



7 a.m.: Police informed, who call the Department of Forest



10 a.m.: Two teams of Forest officials formed to search the premises of the school. Two cages are brought in to trap the leopard



4 p.m.: Leopard spotted at woods nearby. Runs into the school when Forest Department officials close in



6.30 p.m.: When attempting to tranquilise the leopard, the feline charges and attacks officials



8.30 p.m.: Leopard rescued and pulled out of the school



9.30 p.m.: Leopard taken to Bannerghatta Rescue Centre

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 1:39:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/leopard-enters-bengaluru-school/article8206321.ece

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