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Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 12:28 GMT

World: South Asia

Leopard in the living room

Can you switch over to David Attenborough

By South Asia Correspondent Mike Wooldridge

In Chandigarh, in northern India, there was panic when a fully grown leopard appeared in one of the city's suburbs.

Bimla Devi was preparing a meal in the kitchen of her home when her young son yelled to her that there was a tiger inside the house.

He had got the animal wrong but the rest right.

A leopard which had possibly lost its bearings while pursuing a quarry had clawed its way through a wire mesh across the door.

It had settled into a room, where it then sat quietly, apparently absorbed by the television which had been left on as the family took to their heels.

Caged and tranquillised

The leopard was eventually coaxed into a cage by wildlife officials and tranquillised, an operation watched by an ever growing crowd of astonished onlookers.

The leopard had tried to get into a neighbour's house first but was put off by a growling dog.

Incidents of wild animals straying into Chandigarh and its suburbs have increased in recent years as their natural habitat has been threatened, but never, as far as anyone can recall, ending quite like this before.

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