Meerut, Feb 24 (IANS) An alert was sounded in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut city after a leopard entered into it Sunday and attacked several people, officials said Monday.
As a precautionary measure, all schools and colleges have been closed and people were told to stay indoors.
The big cat was first spotted at a shop and after locals attacked it, the feline fled and slipped into the cantonment hospital where it attacked two people.
The leopard was locked up in the hospital situated in Sadar Bazaar, but managed to escape. Forest officials could not nab the animal till Monday evening.
"The leopard may turn into a man-eater due to violence and hunger. We are appealing to the residents to remain calm so that we could rescue it from its hideout and take it to a safe place," chief conservator forest (West UP) S.K. Rastogi told IANS.
"Such animals are capable of covering long distances. It might have come to Meerut alongside a dry river bed," he added.
District officials said while the army's assistance has been sought, three teams of foresters were also formed to locate and tranquilize the leopard.
Feline attacks have surfaced in many parts of Uttar Pradesh of late. In Bijnore, Moradabad and Lakhimpur districts, more than half a dozen people have been killed by a tiger in the last one month.