Leopard creates bathroom mayhem [BBC 2007-01-08]
[Photo] The Indian leopard is thought to have come from nearby jungle
There's a new joke doing the rounds in the western Indian city of Vadodara.
How do you know that you have a leopard in the bathroom? He is the one with the 'L' on his pyjamas and spongebag.
But for one household in the city, there really was a leopard in the bathroom - and it was not very interested in performing its ablutions.
In fact, the animal roared with rage once it discovered that it had been locked in the bathroom by frightened members of the house.
"When we woke up in the morning, we heard noises. We saw a leopard walking into our compound," said householder Dhiren Sukhadia.
"We closed all the doors, but saw him standing at the rear side of the house where we have a bathroom.
"The maid was cleaning there, and we called her in. The moment we closed the door, the leopard went there and started roaring.
"It kicked around the stuff lying there. We called the fire helpline and... they said they were on the way and asked us to keep all doors and windows closed."
Thousands of interested spectators converged on the house on Sunday morning once news of the trapped leopard spread.
They watched as frustrated forestry officials repeatedly attempted to lure the animal out of the bathroom and into a cage near the outside door.
But their job was made more difficult because the noisy crowd frightened the animal from coming out.
Correspondents say police were left with no choice but to fend off the onlookers with batons.
The animal was eventually tranquilised and taken away.
The BBC's Rajeev Khanna in the Gujarat commercial capital, Ahmedabad, says that it will be released into the wild in a few days' time.
A spokesman for the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that the leopard probably came from the jungle near the city.