A FOUR-year-old leopard entered the National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM) in Kondhwa area, possibly on Friday night, and took shelter inside the computer room. It was rescued by a team of professionals on Saturday morning and handed over to the forest department, which transferred the animal to the Chandoli National Park in Sangli district.
The watchmen and conservancy staffers spotted the animal which, to their horror, was sitting under a wash basin outside the computer room. As the staffers started screaming in panic, the terrified animal rushed inside the computer room and hid there.
NIBM officials then alerted forest department officials, who rushed to the institute, along with a rescue team from the Indian Herpetological Society.
As news about the presence of a leopard inside the NIBM premises started spreading, hundreds of onlookers gathered outside the walls of the sprawling 40-acre campus, and police had a tough time managing the crowd.
“We reached the NIBM premises at 10 am. We were told that the leopard was under a table inside the computer room. We took the help of volunteers, who knew the area well. It took us about one-and-a-half-hours to catch the animal, with the help of a tranquilizer… and then it was taken away. It’s a perfectly healthy adult animal and we are relieved that we were able to catch it without hurting it,” said Dr Ankush Dubey, veterinary officer, Wild Animals Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre of IHS.
When Pune Newsline spoke to the forest officials, they were on their way to the Chandoli National Park in Sangli district to release the leopard there. “Although it’s rare for a wild animal to enter the NIBM premises, the Katraj area, located close to hills and forests, has often seen such incursions by animals… the leopard must have been hungry and it must have been lured to the campus by the presence of dogs… We chose to take it to Chandoli as it will enjoy a natural habitat there,” said V J Gaikwad, forest range officer, Pune.
Locals said such an incident had taken place for the first time in many years. “NIBM is in close proximity to a forest land… but we never face much problem from wild animals. This news came as a shock. Thankfully, no one was hurt,” said Sujit, a local resident.