Panic in Bengal town after leopard escapes from zoo, captured hours later

Loudspeakers and social media were used to alert people about the escaped big cat.

A leopard escaped from the zoo in Jhargram, West Bengal, on Thursday, triggering panic. After a search operation lasting hours, the animal was sedated and captured.

Speaking to The Indian Express, chief wildlife officer Debal Roy said a massive campaign was launched by the forest department police and the district administration to ensure no harm was caused. To trace the leopard, three to four groups were formed, comprising 20-25 trained officials. Loudspeakers and social media were used to alert people about the escaped big cat.

“Tracking pugmarks at night was difficult, particularly because this is a forest area. We deployed people with tranquilliser guns so that once the leopard was sighted, it could be brought back to the zoo safely,” Roy said.

The incident prompted park authorities to shut their gates and cordon off nearby areas.

Several rounds of announcements about the escaped leopard were made in different areas of the town, asking people to report any sighting of the animal to the Jhargram police station or the forest department.

The chase ended hours later when wildlife officials with managed to trace the animal.

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