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Leopard on the loose in Meerut, India, prompts school closures

Feb. 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

MEERUT, India, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Schools and colleges were closed Monday in Meerut, India, where a leopard running loose in the town injured at least seven people, officials said.

The leopard was first seen Sunday in Meerut, about 2 hours outside of New Delhi, and was trapped inside a hospital room, but escaped through a window before it could be tranquilized and safely removed, the Hindustan Times reported.

Authorities said the leopard likely strayed into town from a nearby forest.

Passersby reported seeing the animal early Monday at an upscale market in the town.

"We received calls about the animal's location in Abulane market. We are visiting the area with a team of wildlife experts to tranquilize the leopard," said Sushant Sharma, divisional forest officer.

The injured include a police officer, who received seven stitches on his shoulder. Others suffered minor injuries.

"We urged the public not to go near the animal, but they went close out of curiosity and the animal attacked them, inflicting minor injuries," said senior superintendent of police Onkar Singh.

Schools and colleges were closed Monday as large numbers of police officers and wildlife experts worked to capture the animal, the BBC reported.

"We have closed schools and colleges in the town because we are unable to locate the leopard and do not want to take any chances. This is only a precautionary measure," district magistrate Pankaj Yadav told the BBC.

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