A leopard entered the ONGC three-building B-type housing complex in Poonam Nagar on Mahakali Caves Road in Andheri East at 3.30 am Monday, creating a scare.
No one was injured as the big cat was captured by the forest department.
Ratan Kumar, president of the resident welfare association at the society, said a guard heard dogs barking at around 3.30 am.
“He then saw an animal jump over the compound wall and enter the building complex to escape chasing dogs. He, however, could not make out the animal in the dark. As the animal moved into building OB1, the guard rushed to shoo it away thinking it was another dog. However, he found a leopard resting on the staircase between the ground and first floors.”
Two more guards later confirmed it was a leopard.
Kumar, apprised of the situation by 3.50 am, called the police control room.
He said a mobile van from MIDC police station reached 15 minutes later.
Thane forest department staff said their control room got a call around 4 am and sent a vehicle and also alerted Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Around the same time, the leopard went out, only to return in a while and hide beneath the staircase on the ground floor.
Kumar said by the time the operation to capture the cat began, most residents had come out.
“We began the operation at around 8.15 am. Considering the possibility of the leopard attacking the huge crowd gathered to witness the capture, we tranquilised the animal by around 9.20 am. By around 10 am, it was in cage and taken away. We took the animal to SGNP for a medical check-up. A microchip was fitted in the animal before it was released,” said Sudhir Padwale, assistant conservator of forest.
Residents, however, claimed senior forest officers reached the society late. “The response was not quick. Our corporator and MLA reached before them (the forest department staff ),” said Kumar.
Four people have died in the city in leopard attacks in the past five months.
Padwale said it was a female leopard around 4 years old that most probably came from Aarey Colony 1.5 to 2 km away. “It probably wanted to eat a dog but its chase ended in the building,” he said.