Residents of a residential society in Poonam Nagar at Andheri (East) woke up on Monday morning and were shocked to learn that a leopard had laid siege to the staircase on the ground floor. The animal was discovered sitting under the stairs on the ground floor of ONGC Staff Quarters at 7 am and residents were warned to stay indoors and a call was made to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) control room.
A team reached the spot and as they were unable to get the leopard into a cage, it was tranquilized and shifted to SGNP. Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) SD Saste from SGNP led the rescue operation.
Speaking to Mid-Day, Saste said, "We got a call around 7.30 am stating that a leopard had entered a residential building and was hiding beneath the staircase on the ground floor of a building in ONGC Staff Quarters. Our team immediately rushed to the spot and we saw that many people were standing outside the building. With help from the police, we requested the people to stay away from the building so that the animal would not be provoked."
The rescue operation began at 8.45 am and after surveying the building premises, the team sealed off all escape routes with plywood sheets and left a small hole through which a shooter was able to tranquilize the animal.
"As it was not possible to set up a cage and trap the leopard, we decided to tranquilize it. Around 9 am the leopard was tranquilized, after which we took it to SGNP. A decision will be taken to release the animal after observing it for a while and inserting a chip under its skin for future reference," Saste said.