Amid lockdown, leopard strays into Chandigarh’s residential area

Chandigarh: A leopard strayed into a plush residential area in Chandigarh on Monday morning, triggering panic among people, officials said. It was later rescued.

The leopard was spotted in the residential area on Monday morning, following which police made announcements asking people to stay indoors.

Currently, Chandigarh Union Territory is under curfew imposed to check the spread of coronavirus.

A drone fitted with a camera was used to keep an eye on the movement of the big cat inside a plush bungalow where it had entered.

The officials from the department of forests and wildlife shot the leopard with a tranquilizer gun and after some time the animal was shifted in a cage and taken away in a truck.

An official of the department, who was involved in the rescue operation, told the media that they had also taken help of a veterinary doctor from the Chattbir Zoo in Punjab, near Chandigarh in the rescue operation.

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Asked if the animal could have strayed from the Shivalik foothills, he said, “We are working on this. We have found pug marks at some places and will establish the route from where it could have come”.

The leopard had not harmed anyone, officials said.

Earlier in the morning, after the leopard was spotted, police made announcements asking people to stay indoors, Station House Officer (SHO), Sector 3 Police Station, Inspector Jaspal Singh said.

“After the leopard was spotted in the morning, we alerted wildlife officials and they launched the operation to rescue it safely,” he said.

With people staying indoors during the 21-day nationwide lockdown, wild animals, including endangered ones, have been spotted on the deserted streets at several places in the country over the past few days.

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“On Sunday, I spotted a few stags crossing a road in the Sector 5 area,” Singh said.

The leopard got injured during the trapping operation.

With the prevailing eerie silence owing to the curfew to limit the spread of coronavirus, the leopard from the nearby Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary entered the city in the wee hours and was spotted in a Sector 5 residential area. It was spotted at 8.15 a.m.

A few days back, sambars were spotted in residential areas located close to the sanctuary. They were caught on cameras by locals as they were roaming fearlessly.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, adjoining the rain-fed Sukhna Lake, spreads over 25.42 sq km. It is home to a variety of butterflies, birds and mammals like the wild boar, pangolin, mongoose, deer and the Indian civet, besides snakes like the Indian python and Russell’s viper.

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