At 4:15 a.m. local time Monday, a leopard was spotted on the grounds of a school in India. It was not captured until 8:15 p.m., by which point it had mauled six men.
The initial spotting triggered a search for the big cat. Leopards can grow up to 201 pounds in size, can run at up to 36 miles per hour, and have been known to eat people. Officials were about to call off the search when the animal was again seen at 3:30 p.m. An attempt to scare it out of the bushes behind the school startled it, causing it to run inside. Officials managed to secure the leopard inside a bathroom, but the animal escaped through a ventilation duct into the enclosed area around a swimming pool. That's where the injuries took place and where the above video picks up.
Among those injured were Sanjay Gubbi, a scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation, and Benny Maurius, a forest service employee.
At 6:30 p.m., a wildlife manager managed to shoot the cat with a tranquilizer dart, but it remained on the loose inside school grounds until the drugs finally subdued it at 8:30 p.m.
Anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 leopards call India home. As the species sustains habitat loss, poaching, and a shrinking prey base, the animals regularly come into conflict with humans. Members of the genus Panthera, leopards naturally prey on primates, meaning they evolved both the tools and instincts to kill and eat human-like animals.
Most conflicts merely result in lost livestock, but the cost can be considerable. Leopards are surplus killers, attacking more animals than are necessary for their own survival. This surplus killing has played out in dramatic fashion in the past. Famously, the Leopard of Panar was blamed for killing over 400 people in India before legendary British hunter Jim Corbett tracked it down.
The leopard has now been moved to a nearby national park.