A leopard attacked a policeman in a northern Iranian city, sparking panic among local residents before being captured, state media reported on Sunday.
The animal "attacked and injured a policeman before fleeing towards a garden" in Ghaemshahr, said the environment protection spokesman of Mazandaran province, Kamyar Valipur, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
"The health situation of the policeman is stable," he said. A video circulating on social media shows a leopard standing on the front side of an apartment building above a bank. Shortly after, panicked, the animal leaps to the ground and flees.
Terrified residents run amok in all directions while shouting, in the images.
The leopard was captured and transported to Semeskandeh wildlife refuge, in the same region, IRNA said. But later it was reported that "despite the veterinarians' efforts, the leopard died after being hit by two bullets fired at him to save the life of the policeman."
According to Valipour, the province's environment department is investigating whether the animal entered the city from forested areas or was illegally kept in a local household.
Persian leopards are listed as an endangered species on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Many wild animals, including wolves and foxes, have been seen in urban areas in Iran in recent weeks, according to Hamshahri, the daily of Tehran's municipality.
The newspaper notably reported the sighting of a bear in the southern town of Marvdasht and a wolf attack on two elderly women in Khalkhal, northwest Iran.