This is the moment a leopard’s eight-hour attacking spree came to an end, when two bullets were shot into the big cat’s chest from point-blank range.
Police officer Vikas Dhas was forced to use his pistol after the leopard pounced on a man who was leaving a bar in Karad, in India, at lunchtime.
The animal had strayed into the small town and, confused, frightened and frustrated at not being able to escape, attacked half a dozen people yesterday.
Locals in the town, which has a population of 60,000, had noticed the male leopard on a tin roof in the early hours of yesterday morning – at about 4am.
‘I wasn’t sure if I had seen right,’ one local said. ‘I thought it could be a cat or a dog.’
Once people realised the animal was a leopard they panicked and chaos reigned.
‘There was pandemonium like we've never witnessed before,’ said one woman.
The animal managed to sneak into an empty house, but locals upset him by throwing rocks through the doors and windows.
‘A few people hurled stones inside and the leopard came out and started attacking anyone who came before him,’ said resident Vasant Devdige.
The leopard leapt out of the building, growling wildly, because ‘it was scared out of its wits due to the din and chaos around,’ according to Mr Devdige.
At the sight of the animal, the people who had gathered around scurried to safety.
Cornered and confused, the leopard went on an attacking spree, targeting whoever came its way.
Six men were then attacked but escaped with injuries on their face, neck and shoulders.
Local police turned up and fired two rounds in the air to scare the leopard.
‘When this did not help, they used sticks and stones to attack the leopard,’ said another villager who watched the drama that lasted over 30 minutes.
‘That’s when the animal pounced on Hanumant Mane, who was just stepping out of a beer bar, pinning him down at a street corner.’
Mr Dhas then rushed in and shot the leopard at close range with his service revolver.
He said: ‘The leopard was on his chest as I closed in on the scene. It growled at me once and grabbed the victim’s neck.
‘That's when I whipped out my service revolver and shot the leopard close to its chest.
'The only thought that crossed my mind as I pointed my gun at it was to save that man. I didn’t want to kill the leopard.’