India schools shut in Bangalore over leopard fears

Leopard in school Image copyright Kashif Masood
Image caption The leopard was tranquillised on Sunday evening

More than 100 schools have been closed in Bangalore after reports that another leopard was sighted on the outskirts of the Indian city.

Residents were asked to stay indoors and police and forest officials were trying to track the elusive cat.

A male leopard entered a city school on Sunday and injured six people who tried to capture it.

A scientist and a forestry employee were among those mauled during the 10-hour-long effort to corner the animal.

The latest sighting was reported by a construction worker on Wednesday at Nallurhalli, near Whitefield area, BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi in Bangalore reports.

"We have formed teams of forest and police officials who are moving around the area but there is no sign of any leopard or its marks," Karnataka's chief wildlife warden Ravi Ralph said.

On Thursday, authorities ordered 129 schools, including 53 government schools, to remain shut.

Image copyright Press Trust of India
Image caption Footage on the school's security cameras showed it attacking a man near a swimming pool

"We will decide later in the evening whether to shut schools tomorrow [Friday] or not. We await the decision of the forest and police officials on the leopard," government official KS Satyamurthy told BBC Hindi.

A recent wildlife census estimated that India has a leopard population of between 12,000 and 14,000.

The eight-year-old male leopard, which strolled into the Vibgyor International school on Sunday, was eventually tranquillised and captured.

Wildlife officials said the leopard possibly strayed into the school from a patch of forest not far from the school.

Leopards and other big cats have been known to stray into populated areas, and conservationists have warned that such confrontations may increase as humans encroach on animal habitats.

Last year a male leopard spent five hours with its head stuck in a metal pot in a village in the northern state of Rajasthan.

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