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Leopard triggers panic in Aurangabad

Safe and sound: (From top) A forest official sits on the roof of an uninhabited building and fires a tranquilliser dart at the leopard trapped inside; the leopard lies unconscious inside the building; forest officials and residents capture the feline; and place it in a cage.

Safe and sound: (From top) A forest official sits on the roof of an uninhabited building and fires a tranquilliser dart at the leopard trapped inside; the leopard lies unconscious inside the building; forest officials and residents capture the feline; and place it in a cage.  

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Feline cornered, tranquillised, captured in rescue operation lasting over five hours

A leopard strayed into an upmarket residential area in Aurangabad city early on Tuesday, sending waves of panic in the locality before being trapped without injury by forest department officials after a rescue operation lasting over five hours.

According to police officials, the leopard, which strayed into CIDCO N 1 locality, around 245 km from Pune, was sighted by residents who were out for their morning stroll around 6.30 a.m. They alerted authorities and a team from the forest department rushed to the spot. As the news of the sighting spread, scores of residents from nearby areas thronged to catch a glimpse of the leopard.

Leopard triggers panic in Aurangabad

A forest official said, “The leopard was spotted in a garden in N 1 locality. We immediately launched operations to trap the feline before it could harm anyone. We also took great care to ensure that the animal was not harmed and advised residents to stay indoors and keep their doors shut.”

The leopard was found hiding in a nearby uninhabited building. The officials set a trap by cutting off the exit routes and sedating the animal with a tranquilliser dart. By late afternoon, forest authorities took away the unconscious animal. Sources said the leopard would be kept in Aurangabad’s Siddharth Garden and Zoo.

Leopard triggers panic in Aurangabad

Authorities have said the feline could have wandered from its natural habitat in nearby Paithan and Vaijapur taluks, which have a large area under sugarcane cultivation. In January, panic spread in Nashik city after a leopard ran amok in a crowded locality, injuring four persons, including two mediapersons and a Shiv Sena corporator, before being caught by forest authorities after several hours.

Relentless urban encroachment coupled with depletion of thick forest cover in the State has caused the natural habitats of leopards to diminish at an alarming rate. There have been several instances of leopards straying out of their natural environs and wandering into human habitats in Pune district’s Junnar tehsil.

Leopard triggers panic in Aurangabad

Maharashtra has witnessed an alarming rise in the number of leopard deaths since 2018, with wildlife activists and forest authorities estimating 35-odd deaths in the State since January 2018.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:41:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/leopard-strays-into-residential-area-in-maharashtras-aurangabad-city/article30146816.ece

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