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Wild Leopard Strays Into Mercedes Factory In India, Prompting A 6-Hour-Long Shutdown

Workers at a Mercedes factory in Chakan, India, were shocked this month to be greeted by a wild leopard that had found its way into the premises. Fortunately for all involved, the story has a happy ending.

After employees noticed the leopard, they shut down the plant and contacted the State Forest Department, which contacted Wildlife SOS. The NGO quickly sprang into action with a response unit led by its veterinary officers Dr. Nikhil Bangar and Dr. Shubham Patil.

Together, they found the leopard, estimated to be a three-year-old male, and tranquilized it from a safe distance. After that, they removed it from the factory and completed an inspection to see if it needed any medical assistance. After determining that it had not suffered any injuries, they returned it to its habitat.

The rescue operation took four hours in all and the plant was closed for a total of six hours but no one was injured as a result of the unusual interaction. It’s unclear how the leopard found its way into the plant but since it is surrounded by patches of forest, the Wildlife SOS team suspects that it might have ventured in from there.

The organization notes that Maharashtra, the state in which the factory is located, has one of the highest densities of leopards on earth. That makes leopard-human interactions unfortunately common in the area.

Along with the simple quantity of leopards in the area, though, increasing urbanization has caused the cats’ habitat to shrink, pushing them increasingly into urban areas. Wildlife SOS, though, says that by contacting the appropriate authorities and maintaining distance, incidents can be handled with care for both the humans and the animals, as was the case here.

The Mercedes facility in India assembles the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, and CLA Coupé, as well as the GLA, GLC, GLE, and GLS crossovers.

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