A rogue leopard that has injured seven people is still on the loose after terrorizing a small city in India over the weekend.
The leopard succeeded in evading captors Sunday by seeking shelter in a local timber shop, a hospital, a movie theater, and an apartment complex in the northern India city of Meerut, CNN reported.
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At one point, police had the cat cornered in the Meerut Cantonment Hospital but it broke through a wall and got away. Seven people, including a police officer, sustained minor injuries.
"Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down. We have launched a massive hunt for the beast," additional district magistrate S.K. Dubey told The Associated Press
. "But despite that he managed to break [out through] the iron grilles and escaped. He then sneaked into the premises of a cinema hall before entering an apartment block. After that we lost track of the cat."
Animal control experts say the leopard likely retreated back to where it came from.
"Nothing happened [Monday]. So, there are chances it could have gone back to the forests. But we are still trying to track it," local forest official Sushant Sharma told CNN.
Other experts said the leopard coming into the Indian town was a result of humans starting to build on the land that used to belong to the cats.
"There are many cases where human habitats are encroaching on those of big cats, which are getting lesser and lesser over the years," Jimmy Borah, tiger coordinator for the World Wildlife Fund India, told CNN. "The cats are forced to come out of their habitats to look for food. There is lots of habitat loss and with that food source loss — it's one of the main problems, which is why they are coming out."
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