Residents and onlookers on the streets of Meerut, near Delhi, were shocked to see a leopard roaming the streets.
The leopard is still on the loose and has injured several people.
Schools and colleges had to be closed down after the leopard was discovered on Sunday.
“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down,” additional district magistrate S.K. Dubey said, according to the Daily Mail. “We have launched a massive hunt for the beast.”
The animal was found inside an empty ward of an army hospital. Wildlife officers were called and managed to fire a tranquilizer dart into it, Dubey said.
But the ordeal wasn’t over as the leopard was able to break out and escape.
“He then sneaked into the premises of a cinema hall before entering an apartment block. After that we lost track of the cat,” Dubey added.
Authorities have asked local markets to close until the animal is captured.
Crowds of people trying to get a glimpse of the large cat have hindered police, soldiers and wildlife officials’ efforts to make a capture.
Photos have surfaced in which the leopard is seen pushing its way through a lattice wall at the hospital as a cop armed in riot gear gets ready to hit it with a baton.
Another picture shows the leopard leaping off a building as people scramble to get out of the way.
Wildlife experts and police have been called in to tranquilize the animal, who has since been seen in a shopping district.
“We received calls about the animal’s location in Abulane market,” divisional forest officer, Sushant Sharma said. “We are visiting the area with a team of wildlife experts to tranquilize the leopard.”
Animal attacks in other parts of the world have also surfaced in recent time. The World Wildlife Fund has called for better management of habitats for India’s leopard population.
“Leopards are large territorial mammals, they need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface,” Deepankar Ghosh of WWF-India said.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Independent