Schools shut in South India after leopard scare

More than 100 Bengaluru schools are closed after leopard scare

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

An Indian man (L) with a tranquiliser gun looks on as a leopard attacks a man identified by Indian media as wildlife conservationist Sanjay Gubbi (R) at a private school on the outskirts of Bangalore on February 7, 2016

Updated Feb 11, 2016

Approximately 130 schools have been closed by the authorities three days after a leopard entered a public school and injured five on Sunday in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, the education authority said.

The panic came after a woman claimed to have spotted a leopard six kilometres away from Vibgyor school where one tried to maul several wildlife workers Sunday, before being caged. 

"We have advised about 80 private and 50 government schools in the city's eastern areas to remain closed today for the safety of their wards, as one or two more leopards were seen moving around in the vicinity," S.M. Ramesh, block education officer, told AFP.

According to the forest department official, they had searched the area for two days but have not gotten any result yet, after a woman reported seeing a leopard behind a technology park on her way home from work on Wednesday evening.

"We have placed one cage with a bait in the area and another near the private school where one leopard was trapped on February 7," deputy range forest officer Jagannath Reddy told reporters.

About 60 schools in the eastern areas had already declared a holiday on Wednesday, after rumours spread about a leopard being sighted in the area.

A male leopard which wandered into a school on Sunday in the southern Indian city of Bangalore injured five people during an hours-long attempt to catch the beast.

Photos of the incident show the animal prowling around the closed school on Sunday and trying to maul forestry officials, a wildlife activist and others who came too close.

Ravi Ralph, chief wildlife officer in the state of Karnataka, said the leopard appeared to have gotten into the school from a nearby forest area by jumping over the compound's wall. 

The animal is seen attacking a man lying on the ground who uses his hand to defend himself. The cat is also shown sinking its claws into a man's leg as he tries to climb a gate.

"The leopard was caught and caged after a four-hour operation, when it was trapped in a room with one tranquiliser shot through a wire-meshed ventilator," Ralph told Agence France Presse.

The leopard was taken to Bangalore's Bannerghatta zoo for observation, but was reportedly later released into the forest. His victims were treated for minor injuries.

Leopards number between 12,000 to 14,000, according to a national survey released last year. They are increasingly venturing into populated areas as their habitats become depleted.

A leopard killed a five-year-old boy in the courtyard of his home in central India in 2014.

Video footage from Mumbai in 2013 showed a leopard creeping into an apartment block foyer and snatching a small dog.

TRTWorld and agencies