In light of the recent leopard sighting in a residential area here, Maharashtra forest department plans to set up a well-equipped team to rescue wild animals that stray into the city, an official said on Wednesday.

A leopard strayed into CIDCO area of Aurangabad city on Tuesday morning, triggering panic among locals. The feline was trapped by forest officials after eight hours of hectic efforts.

“We plan to set up a rapid rescue team in Aurangabad. We already have such teams in Nashik, Junnar, Amravati and Chandrapur, and they are trained to rescue wild animals that enter residential areas,” principal chief conservator of forests for state Nitin Kakodkar said.

The recent incident of leopard straying into residential area has highlighted the need for a rapid rescue team in Aurangabad city, he said, adding that the team will be well trained and well equipped.

Former deputy forest conservator Rajendra Dhongade, who participated in the rescue operation on Tuesday, said these incidents are on the rise, as leopards can adapt to any environment and find easy preys in stray cattle or dogs.

“Well-equipped teams should be set up and they should also conduct mock drills at regular intervals. This will help the forest department handle panic situations,” Dhongade said.