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HomeDelhiLeopard enters Delhi village, attacked with sticks, rescued | Latest News Delhi

Leopard enters Delhi village, attacked with sticks, rescued | Latest News Delhi

A five-year-old male leopard wandered into Jagatpur village in north Delhi on Monday morning and attacked eight residents, before stick-wielding villagers beat it and trapped it in a house, from where it was successfully rescued after nearly five hours, police officers and forest officials aware of the operation said.

The leopard was trapped in a house in Jagatpur village, and was rescued after nearly five hours, said officials. (HT Photo)

Forest officials said that the leopard was later released in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in south Delhi. “Overall, a successful rescue operation of a leopard from a congested colony of Jagatpur required careful planning, coordination, and expertise from the forest department. By prioritising the safety of both the residents and the animal, a successful outcome was achieved,” the forest department said in a statement.

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The leopard was first spotted at Jagatpur — which is adjacent to the Yamuna Biodiversity Park — at around 5.30am, when it was seen at a dairy. The animal then began jumping from one terrace to another, before pouncing on villager Nasir Ali, 17, who was walking on the street at around 6am. Nasir’s brother, Gufraan, 23, said, “Nasir screamed for help, and a group of six-seven men came to help, hitting the animals with sticks.”

Satish Jha, 61, said several children were on the street when Nasir was attacked, and he pitched in to help scare away the leopard. “My aim was to save the kids… but the leopard then jumped at me. It hit me with its paw. I couldn’t do anything. Luckily, I was pulled out by locals, who kept hitting the leopard,” Jha said, adding that some others in the crowd also received minor injuries.

Trying to escape the mob, the leopard then entered the house of Delhi Police head constable Vipin Choudhary. “I could hear the villagers shouting… Before I could understand what was happening, I saw the leopard inside my house. I turned away but it grabbed me by my neck,” the policeman said.

Choudhary’s brother Nitin, an MCD employee who lives with him, said, “I was scared as my brother’s and my children were sleeping in an adjacent room. I picked up a stick and hit the leopard in its face.”

At this point, the leopard ran out of the house, attacked a villager named Nishu Singh, then ran back into the house, where it bit Nitin and scratched him with its paws. However, the villagers managed to scare the leopard into an empty room, and trapped it there by around 7am.

Meanwhile, teams from the Delhi Police and the forest department arrived at the spot, and the eight people who were injured were rushed to hospital. Four of the injured — Nasir, Nishu Singh, Vipin, and Nitin — were hospitalised with multiple injuries, while the others were discharged after primary treatment.

Forest department officials said that the room was cordoned off, and a thick net was laid on the ground as a safety measure. “Upon opening the door, the leopard ran out and was successfully tranquillised by trained veterinarians,” an official said, adding that the leopard was sedated by around 11.45am, and was released in Asola Bhatti in south Delhi — an area which has an abundance of quarry for it to hunt — at around 1.15pm.

Deputy commissioner of police (north) Manoj Meena said, “Eight people were injured. We had PCR vans stationed outside (Choudhary’s house) and everyone was rushed to the hospital in time. All of them are safe.”

Delhi Fire Services chief Atul Garg said two fire tenders were deployed to help with the rescue operation.

Choudhary’s father Mahendra Singh, 63, alleged that forest department officials came to the village around an hour after they were called. “It was us who kept hitting the animal and trapped it in an empty room,” he said.

A forest department official, however, said there were some management issues with the staff but they reached the spot within half an hour. “Also, there were a lot of locals on the street. It took time to get to the animal,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Leopard’s point of origin in contention

Forest department officials suspect that the leopard may have wandered into the village from the Yamuna Biodiversity Park. “The leopard was allegedly spotted in Jagatpur village near Wazirabad adjacent to the Yamuna and may have wandered into the area from the nearby Yamuna Biodiversity Park,” the forest department statement said.

Officials from the park, however, said that they did not have any evidence of a leopard in the area.

“The leopard did not come from the biodiversity park. We conduct experiments throughout winter to track pug marks. There were no leopard pugmarks this winter. Leopards can also come to Delhi by using the Yamuna as a corridor. Sometimes they come to the city from Uttar Pradesh or Haryana,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.

Dr Pranav Chanchani, World Wildlife Fund national lead for tiger conservation, said, “The leopard may have found its way there following the river floodplains, where leopards are periodically detected. When leopards (like this individual) sometimes become ‘trapped’ in urban spaces that they inadvertently find themselves in, conflict can occur.”

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