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Leopard caged from kitchen

Jan. 5: Forest officials today trapped a leopard, which injured several people at Urisal village near Danton in West Midnapore, after a night-long operation.

The animal, about eight feet long, took shelter inside a kitchen last night after injuring several villagers. The condition of one of them, Rakhal Shyamal, was stated to be serious. He has been admitted to Danton hospital.

The leopard, which probably sneaked in from the Simlipal forest in Orissa, was perched on a tree on the outskirts of Urisal when children returning home from play spotted it. They raised an alarm and villagers armed with iron rods, spears, daggers and axes went after the animal.

The scared leopard leaped from the tree on the mob and mauled at least eight of them.

It was the villagersí turn to get scared and run for cover but not before one of them took a swathe at the animal with his axe. The leopard disappeared.

As word spread, shopkeepers downed shutters and scurried for cover.

Moments later, it reappeared with a deep gash on its forehead, apparently confused and panic-stricken at the hue and cry. It ran across Urisal and entered the house of Bhupati Das.

A scared Das, however, had the presence of mind to bolt the door when it entered his kitchen.

Forest and police officials reached Urisal, 80 km from Jhargram, after midnight. They placed a cage blocking the kitchen door and started coaxing the leopard into it poking and pushing it with sticks from a window opposite the door.

The animal roared and resisted through the night but could not take the shoves any longer this morning.

District forest officer Debal Roy said the leopard has been kept in a mini zoo in Jhargram. Doctors are treating the injured animal there, said Roy. Chief wildlife warden K.K. Singh has been informed.

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