Five injured after leopard attacks Nashik locality; captured hours later
On Friday morning, panic and fear gripped the residents of a Nashik locality after a fully grown male leopard entered an upmarket area and went on an attacking spree. The leopard left two local journalists, a corporator, and a couple of locals injured, before it was finally captured. The big cat will be released into the wild after medical tests are conducted. Here's more.
Authorities were first alerted about the leopard's presence in Savarkarnagar when a resident spotted it around 8am and called the corporator's office. Meanwhile, a retired police officer alerted the cops in the area about the big cat's presence. Yet, despite efforts by police, locals, and forest department officials, the leopard left a trail of injuries before it could be captured.
Among those injured were journalists Kapil Bhaskar and Tabrez Shaikh. While Shaikh suffered a broken leg after falling from a tin shed when the leopard pounced on him, Bhaskar was more unfortunate. The journalist was standing on a verandah trying to photograph the leopard when the big cat attacked him. He was severely mauled and had to get 40 stitches. Both are stable now.
Meanwhile, corporator Santosh Gaikwad suffered minor scratches on his body while trying to apprehend the animal. However, after receiving first aid from a nearby hospital, Gaikwad bravely rejoined efforts to capture the leopard. Two other residents of the area received minor scratches from the big cat while they were trying to chase the animal away. None of them are in any serious danger.
In the chaos, forest department officials arrived and tried tranquilizing the leopard. Officials said that the presence of a mob in the area made the leopard feel threatened, which is why it became extremely aggressive. After over two hours of efforts, the animal was finally caught in a net and tranquilized. Forest department officials said it would be released after medical tests.
"What hampered the operation to catch the beast was the presence of a large number of curious onlookers. The big cat grew more aggressive as it saw the crowd," one forest department official told TOI.
Notably, this isn't the first such incident in the area. On January 2, a motorist was attacked by a leopard in the Makhmalabad area, and shortly afterwards, on January 6, a farm labor was attacked in Deolali. On January 22, another leopard and its cub was spotted in Deolali. Several similar incidents and sightings took place in adjoining rural areas too.