Sachin – the adult leopard who was named after the Indian cricket icon and who made headlines last year for escaping from his enclosure and coming back on his own at the Bengal Safari, a park near Siliguri – died on Saturday.
The specially designed park is located not far from Siliguri, north Bengal’s biggest town. There is another leopard who is named after former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.
Park authorities said it appears Sachin died of heart attack. Samples from his body were sent to Kolkata to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Badal Debnath, the park director, said, “Sachin was ill for the past seven days. Veterinary experts were looking after him.”
Sachin jumped out of his enclosure on January 1, 2019, forcing the authorities to close the park. However, he surprised everyone by returning to the enclosure after a few days. He has been kept under surveillance since then.
Sachin’s escape created panic among people in the local villages. Drones were used to trace the big cat and four elephants were deployed to comb the park and the jungles. Six camera traps were also set up.
Sachin and Sourav were both brought to the park from the Khayerbari tiger and leopard rescue centre in Alipurduar district.
The park is now left with four leopards: Sourav, Kajal, Shital and Nayan.
The main park is spread across 297 hectares.
The Bengal Safari is among the most popular tourist spots in north Bengal. It was inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on January 21, 2016. Tigers, leopards and black bears are the main attractions for visitors who have to travel in specially designed buses.
The leopard safari, where Sachin lived, is spread across 20 hectares.