Leopard strays into Shimla, condition critical

Shimla, Feb 25 (IANS) Panic gripped this Himachal Pradesh capital Thursday when a leopard was spotted strolling in areas adjoining the Mall, an official said. The wildlife officials later trapped the animal. However, the condition of the wild cat is critical due to stress and injuries.

‘After receiving information this (Thursday) morning that the leopard attacked a man, we reached the spot. After three hours of searching, we traced it in the wild bushes,’ Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rajesh Sharma told IANS.

‘The animal was tranquilised with the help of a cartridge-propelled rifle. As the leopard got hit by the tranquiliser shot, it ran towards the houses and wandered into a home where it became unconscious,’ he said, adding that ‘the animal could have come from Jakhoo forest area which surrounds the city’.

The three-foot long female wild cat was later taken to a rescue centre near the city.

‘The leopard’s condition is critical as it is under stress due to grievous injuries. One of the front paws is also missing. The animal might have been caught in some snare and during the struggle she lost the paw,’ wildlife expert Sandeep Rattan said.

‘It is suffering from septicemia. It seems due to injuries, the wild cat was unable to hunt. It was hungry for the past 10 to 15 days,’ he said.

‘We have put the animal under observation. It’s on a glucose drip. Our priority right now is to give her comfort and bring her out of

stress,’ he added.

The leopard will not be released in the jungle because of its permanent injury, an official said.

According to wildlife experts, wild animals generally stray into human habitation when there is a shortage of prey in the forest or they are unable to hunt due to some physical disability.

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