Panic gripped Jalandhar district’s Lamma Pind as an adult leopard strayed into the densely populated village Thursday noon from across the district border with Hoshiarpur along the National Highway. The lone big cat attacked six people and drew the rescuers into hours of cat-and-mouse chase, with a 12-member team from the Wildlife Department managing to corner it outside the toilet of a locked house in the evening. It was finally caged post 11 pm after an 11-hour struggle, and sent to Chandigarh’s Chhatbir Zoo under medical supervision.
As the chase unfolded earlier, people gathered on rooftops — making videos and pelting stones at the animal and in turn delaying the operation by several hours. “Police tried to disburse people but they did not move and hindered the operation,” said District Forest Officer (Wildlife) Khushwinder Singh.
The leopard was first spotted by Paramjit Kaur in the courtyard of her house at around noon. Police was informed immediately and a team of around 12 people from Wildlife Department was rushed to the spot. As the leopard entered one Jaswinder Singh’s house, he tried assisting the wildlife team in trying to trap it in a net. The animal attacked Jaswinder while escaping from the house. Later, it was spotted roaring in a nearby street amid screams of bystanders, all of whom rushed inside houses to save themselves.
Sukhwinder Kumar, another villager who was attacked and sustained injuries on his hand, said that the leopard was moving in the area since last night. After evading capture for around four hours, the leopard first went to the open fields in the village, and later entered a house that had its main gate locked. It was at this spot that the team managed to administer tranquilizer to it for the first time.
“We managed to corner it inside the house. But it could not be immediately caught as it was big and agile,” said DFO Khushwinder Singh, adding that two injections were administered on the animal, but after few minutes of unconsciousness the leopard again became active. With several people pelting stones on it, animal became aggressive and attacked them, including an employee of wildlife department, he added.
Khushwinder said that a team of doctors from Chhatbir Zoo, led by Dr M P Singh, reached the spot after 8 pm and administered another injection to the leopard. The DFO added that the leopard was conscious till 11 pm, three hours after being administered a tranquilizer by the team of doctors from Chandigarh.
A little later, Deputy Commissioner, Jalandhar, Varinder Kumar Sharma confirmed that the leopard had been trapped and put in the cage. There is no need to panic now, he added.