Mercedes-Benz Factory Temporarily Shut Down Production After a Leopard Broke into Facility


A Mercedes-Benz factory temporarily shut down production for four hours Monday morning after a leopard broke into the facility.

Animal rescue organization, Wildlife SOS, said that the young leopard caused a scare when he was spotted prowling around the manufacturing unit of the car factory in Chakan, Maharashtra state.

Spread over 100 acres, the Mercedes facility immediately shut down production and called in rescuers from the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS to remove the unwanted guest.

Teams secured the area and ensured all staff were evacuated from the building and kept at a safe distance during the four-hour operation.

The distressed leopard can be seen running around the facility, apparently searching for a hiding spot in a video of the rescue operation. As rescue teams prepare to tranquilize the animal, the leopard can be seen timidly peeking out from behind crates.

Wildlife SOS veterinary officer Nikhil Bangar tranquilized the furry creature before lifting it into a cage once the team pinpointed the leopard.

The leopard was transported back with the Chakan Forest department for care and is currently under medical observation.

Wildlife SOS said the leopard was only two to three years old after undergoing an initial health check.

The leopard will be released back into the wild once the medical evaluation is completed.

To learn how the leopard may have entered the factory, CCTV footage from areas around the factory will be assessed, The Times of India reported.

In India, leopards are often found wandering into villages and human-dominated places.

No previous leopard sightings in this particular area have occurred, Range Forest Officer Yogesh Mahajan told The Indian Express.

Other wildlife—such as deer—are often seen wandering around because the facility is close to a forest. Mahajan said the leopard may have strayed into the campus searching for prey.

“A regular night patrolling routine has been in place in the area for long. Local populace has been sensitized about various issues regarding man-animal conflict,” Mahajan said.

Bangar said in a statement that the prompt action for the teams “helped save the life of this leopard.”

In a statement, Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO and Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said there are increasing instances of leopards wandering into human-dominated areas due to habitat loss. “Our team is trained to ensure that such situations are handled with the utmost caution, keeping in mind the safety of the leopard as well as humans,” he said.

The Times of India reported, In 2021, that 65 percent of Maharashtra’s leopard population prowl outside of sanctuaries and nature reserves. This could be why there is a high human-leopard conflict in the state.

In a tweet, Mercedes-Benz India commented on the incident: “We had a very special guest at Mercedes-Benz India campus this morning. A leopard strayed into the company’s production facility and was later rescued with the prompt support of the Forest Department and Local Police. Seems like the forest inspector ran a QC and gave us a star rating.”

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