At least 15 people, including women and children, were injured in a series of unprovoked attacks by a wild leopard in India.
Multiple videos circulated Monday on social media showed the big cat going on a rampage through Jorhat, a city in the northeastern state of Assam. In one of the videos shared on Twitter, the leopard is seen leaping over a barbed wire fence and lunging at a moving van with people inside, The New Indian Express reported.
The leopard tore parts of the vehicle’s window before sprinting down the road.
In another video, the animal was seen taking shelter near the staircase of a residential building.
The victims injured in the attacks reportedly included a mother, her two daughters, and multiple forest officials. “When our team reached the area, the leopard attacked two of our staff. Our second team also reached the spot and we are monitoring the situation and trying to tranquilize the leopard,” a forest official said.
Those injured in the attacks were admitted to the hospital and were listed in stable condition, officials said. “Many of the injured were bitten and needed hospitalization but they seem to be out of danger now,” hospital spokesperson Purnima Barua said, as per the Times of India.
“Some residents had a close shave as the leopard was roaming in their courtyards,” Ranjit Konwar, a forest officer, said.
Officials believed the leopard escaped from the nearby Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in search of food and intruded into the neighborhood surrounding a rainforest research institute.
“The research institute has a forest area of around 200 bighas (40 acres) and the leopard is believed to have come out of there. The animal has been roaming around the area and the forest department is trying to track it,” police officer Mohan Lal Meena said, as per Hindustan Times.
It took about 24 hours for the forest officials to locate the animal. It was tranquilized and placed under examination Tuesday.
The leopard will be released into the Kaziranga National Park in Assam after the examination, officials said.
Leopards generally don’t attack humans without provocation, forest officials pointed out. “The leopard’s behavior is erratic as they usually don’t attack humans,” Meena said.
An investigation was launched into the incident to determine what triggered the animal to go on a rampage in the city.