Thane,Feb 20: A leopard was spotted at a shopping mall and a hotel in Thane city of Maharashtra on Wednesday morning and later caught by forest officials after over six hours, an official said. The big cat was initially thought to be a panther but it was later found to be a leopard. The feline was caught from the basement of the hotel located on Pokhran Road around 11.50 am, a senior forest official said.
The carnivore was first seen at Korum Mall located in Samata Nagar around 5.30 am by some persons who alerted police and forest officials, he said. The police and forest officials rushed to the mall but after searching the premises for around two to three hours, they concluded that the animal must have escaped from there by jumping off its compound wall, the official said.
The leopard was later spotted at a housing complex and then in the basement of the hotel near the mall, he said. The forest officials finally managed to tranquilise the feline in the hotel basement before taking it away, he said, adding that the animal would be released in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park after an examination.