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Leopard scare closes 129 Indian schools in Bangalore

Over 100 schools have been closed in the city of Bangalore in southern India after a wild leopard wandered onto school grounds on Sunday, mauling six people.

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Wild leopard mauls six in Bangalore school

A leopard mauls six people while on the loose in a high school in Bangalore, India.

The eight-year-old male stalked the halls and courtyards of VIBGYOR international high school for roughly 14 hours before the forest authorities managed to tranquillise and capture it.

Deputy director of public instruction in south Bangalore, K Padmavathi, told local reporters that 129 schools would remain closed until Friday to safeguard against the possible presence of more leopards.

The leopard attacks a man at VIBGYOR international high school in Bangalore. Officials say the wild cat wandered into ...
The leopard attacks a man at VIBGYOR international high school in Bangalore. Officials say the wild cat wandered into the school in southern India and injured six people as it tried to escape. Photo: AP

Police and the forest department have been patrolling the area since Tuesday and have urged people to exercise extreme caution, a deputy commissioner of local police, D Boralingaiah said.

He also said the supposed sightings of more leopards by residents of the area are "rumours" that are yet to be verified.

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"I cannot refute it," he said, adding even if more leopards had come closer to the city, they have already turned back.

The leopard responsible for the safeguards was first spotted inside the high school building on chilling footage captured on CCTV on Sunday.

Frenzied feline: The leopard chases down a man on the school grounds of VIBGYOR international high school in Bangalore, ...
Frenzied feline: The leopard chases down a man on the school grounds of VIBGYOR international high school in Bangalore, India on Sunday. Photo: Supplied

Dramatic vision shot by local news channels then showed the leopard falling out of an upper level window into netting, knocking over a ladder and landing in the school's courtyard.

Local forest officials finally shot the frenzied feline with a tranquiliser dart, but before the tranquiliser kicked in, the leopard went on the attack.

It dashed around the school's swimming pool, leaping on several men who tried in vain to dart out of the way.

Conservation scientist Sanjay Gubbi and Forest Department driver Benny Maurius were injured when they tried to corner the animal, according to local media reports.

Mr Gubbi tried to escape by scaling a fence, but was dragged down by the leopard, and bitten on the arm.

The drugged leopard eventually stumbled into a changing room and collapsed. Its captors waited an hour to confirm the beast was asleep before moving in and covering the beast with a net.

"It may have strayed from the open forests near Whitefield, and once strayed, it could not go back," Ravi Ralf, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests for wildlife told The Hindu.

"We tried to lock it in a room, but the windows close to the roof were covered by a flimsy mesh. It managed to push its way outside and leap to another room. Even there, it pushed through the mesh and leapt out … those were anxious moments," Mr Rafi said.

The six people hurt during the incident, including a local TV news cameraman, have been treated for minor injuries.

The subdued animal was transported to a national park.

In the last few years, the country has witnessed several leopard and tiger attacks as a result of a growing destruction of the animals' natural habitats and urbanisation of previously forested areas.

There are an estimated 50,000 leopards in the country according to the Wildlife Trust of India.

Leopards and other big cats are known to stray into populated areas in the Kundalahalli region and elsewhere in India, the BBC reported.

Animal conservationists have warned that the number of confrontations with these wild animals may increase as human activity encroaches on natural habitats.

In January, a lion had to be rescued from waters off the coast of the Indian port of Jafrabad, after local fishermen alerted rangers from the nearby Gir National Park.

Last year a male leopard spent five hours trapped after its head became stuck in a metal pot in a village in Rajasthan, in northern India.

A recent wildlife census suggests the Indian leopard population is between 12,000 and 14,000.