January 13 is likely to remain etched in Ganesh Pujari’s memory forever. The 50-year-old had just stepped out of his house on hearing a commotion when he saw an animal leaping towards him and grabbing his head. It was in those spine-chilling moments that he realised he had just been attacked by a leopard.Even as it happened, Pujari had another major worry: his young son Amit was sleeping in the house. However the chaos and noises had woken up Amit, who by then was pulled by his father and both of them escaped from the house. According to a neighbour, Pujari was rushed to Sion hospital as he had sustained claw injuries on his skull.“Ganesh was the fifth and last person to be attacked. He in fact stepped out after hearing the alarm raised by locals,” said Sharda Kadav, a resident of Vastu building and an eyewitness.Dr Jayshree Mondkar, dean of Sion hospital, said, “All five patients were treated on Out-Patient Department (OPD) basis. They had nail mark injuries but none of them were major. They suffered mild injuries on their hands, leg, and face. Balaji had a nasal bone fracture.”For residents of Nanepada in Mulund (East), the only wild animal they had ever encountered in their locality were monkeys. “We don’t know how a leopard entered our area. However, our area has almost become a tourist spot as all my relatives and friends are calling and want to visit and see where the leopard was captured,” said Mitesh Mhatre, another resident.

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Leopard attack took locality by surprise