Runaway leopard in India hoodwinks drones, elephants

KOLKATA (AFP) – Wildlife authorities in eastern India have deployed drones, trained elephants and set up traps with live bait to find a leopard who escaped from a safari park, officials said yesterday.

The four-year-old beast nicknamed Sachin escaped on New Year’s Day from its enclosure in Bengal Safari Park located near Siliguri town in West Bengal state.

“Two camera-fitted drones, four trained elephants and nearly 100 foresters have been deployed to track the leopard,” Vinod Kumar Yadav from the West Bengal Zoo Authority told AFP by telephone.

“Foresters have also laid 10 traps with live bait but the leopard did not fall prey to (them).”

The leopard was briefly sighted on a tree near the rhino enclosure in the herbivore section of the park on Tuesday night before it vanished from sight.

Foresters have since found pugmarks at three places triggering panic among villagers living nearby.