Jorhat, Dec. 17: The Assam forest department heaved a sigh of relief this afternoon after successfully tranquillising an injured leopard at the Bismile area under Chabua police station in Dibrugarh district.
Forest department sources said the female sub-adult leopard was unable to move properly because of an injury suspected to have been received when a vehicle hit it on National Highway 37.
A man was injured by the leopard when he went near the big cat, which was inside a drain, and slipped and fell down near it.
Gopal Keot, 35, was hospitalised after he was clawed by the animal. His condition is stated to stable.
As the news spread fast in the nearby villages, people thronged the spot to have a glimpse of the injured animal, which was growling on seeing the swelling crowd. Police personnel were deployed to keep the crowd at bay.
Divisional forest officer (Dibru-Saikhowa National Park) Vaibhav C. Mathur told The Telegraph over phone that staff from the park, territorial division and a mobile veterinary team from Wildlife Trust of India-run Dhola-based satellite centre of the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (near Kaziranga) succeeded in tranquillise the animal around 3pm.
Mathur said the leopard was taken to the Guijan range office of the park where it was examined. The DFO, a veterinary doctor, said the big cat has sustained serious injury on its spinal chord and also in the left fore paw.
Later around 5pm, the leopard regained consciousness and was found to be suffering from posterior paralysis. It was unable to sit up or move normally.
ďAs the condition of the leopard is serious, we have decided to keep a close watch on the animal for 24 hours and decide on the next step,Ē Mathur said.
The senior forest official said the survival chance of the animal was not much and even if it survived, it might not be able to move around normally.
He said if its condition improved partially, the big cat could be kept in a zoo, otherwise a tough decision (killing it) has to be taken. Mathur said the permission has to be taken from the chief wildlife warden of the state for killing the animal if it becomes totally immobile, which is permissible under Section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Last week, an adult leopard was caged near the Indian Air Force station at Chabua.