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Leopard strays into empty Indian school, injures three

A leopard has injured three people after entering an empty school on the outskirts of Bangalore in southern India. The animal was captured following a 10-hour operation by local officials.

Local police chief NH Rajasekhar said on Monday that the leopard entered Vibgyor International school early Sunday morning and was tranquilized and captured after a day-long effort by a team consisting of forest officials, NGOs and police officials.

Authorities believe the leopard was from a forest area some two kilometers (1.24 miles) away from the school.

"Fortunately, the security guard spotted the cat and alerted the police. Otherwise it would have been all trouble and chaos once the school re-opened Monday," Rajasekhar said.

Footage broadcast across Indian media showed the fully-grown male leopard prowling through the school's empty corridors before attacking members of the team sent to capture it.

Two mauled by leopard

During efforts to seize the leopard, the big cat escaped the school grounds only to return later, at which time authorities tranquilized it.

A conservationist and a wildlife official were mauled by the leopard, while a cameraman from a local television channel suffered injuries when he slipped while trying to film the animal.

The leopard was later released into the Bannerghatta National Park, some 30 kilometers from the school, later on Sunday night.

Regular occurance

According to a recent wildlife census there are an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 leopards in India. Leopards, as well as other wild animals, are known to frequently stray into cities and towns, sometimes attacking people and at other times coming under attack themselves.

In October last year, a thirsty leopard wandered into a village in northern India and got its head stuck in a metal pot for 12 hours before being freed by local vets.

ksb/msh (dpa, PTI)

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