A leopard has been evading captors in the north Indian city of Meerut, entering a hospital, a cinema and an apartment block and closing down schools and colleges.
"Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down. We have launched a massive hunt for the beast," district magistrate S.K. Dubey told AFP. "But despite that he managed to break [out through] the iron grilles and escaped.... After that we lost track of the cat."
The leopard injured six people, causing officials to urge the temporary shutdown of the city, which contains 3.5 million people. According to Press Trust of India, police, soldiers and wildlife officials were trying to capture the animal, but their efforts were thwarted by large crowds keen to catch a glimpse of him.
Conservationists say that this and other incidents like it could be lessened by better forest conservation and management."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 told AFP. "We can't put all the leopards into cages. We can't remove all the people living near forested areas. We have to manage the situation the best way we can."