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Friday, July 20, 2018

Leopard strays into school for hearing impaired; rescued after six-hour operation by forest dept, cops

60 students were present in hostel, animal sent to Lucknow zoo.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow | Published: January 14, 2018 1:18:17 am
The male leopard was hiding in a basement when it was tranquilised; children rejoice after the rescue in Lucknow on Saturday. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

Panic gripped a locality in old city area of Lucknow after a leopard entered the campus of a private school for hearing impaired children on Saturday. Around 60 students were present in a hostel on the premises. It took over six hours for the forest department team to tranquilise and catch the male leopard, aged around 3-4 years. The animal was later taken to the Lucknow zoo.

Superintendent of Police (West), Vikas Chandra Tripathi, said, “At around 10.30 am, we were informed that a leopard had been spotted on CCTV footage in the premises of St. Francis School, a school for the hearing impaired in Mishribagh locality. We informed the forest department and rushed to the spot. CCTV footage showed the leopard near the basement under the stage where the morning assembly is conducted. We later saw its footprints leading to the basement. Both the gates of the basement were locked from outside and the forest department team started its operation to catch the animal.”

“Forest officials spotted the leopard inside the basement. They initially tried to inject the animal with a tranquiliser through the gates, but failed. Later, we had to demolish a major part of the stage to inject the tranquiliser, it was around 6 pm by then. The animal was taken to the Lucknow zoo,” the SP added. No one was injured during the operation.

Circle Officer (CO) of Chowk area, Durga Prasad, said, “Sixty students were in the hostel while around 10 members of the school staff were in other rooms on the school premises. However, since the school was closed due to cold weather, all students were inside the hostel, situated around 40 mts from the basement. After seeing the leopard on CCTV, the principal and other staff locked themselves and the students in their respective rooms before calling the police.”

Tripathi said they were not sure how the leopard entered the city area. “The Gomti is situated close to the school and the leopard could have come through the river banks. It probably entered the school by scaling the boundary wall,” he added.

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