The Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker, is a sprawling 600-acre facility near Gurugram on the outskirts of Delhi, which churns out 3,100 automobiles every day like clockwork.
But the company’s prized production schedule seems to have gone for a bit of a toss after a leopard was spotted strutting through the facility in the early hours of Thursday (Oct. 05). Forest officials and police are at the factory, according to the ANI news agency, and production is understood to be temporarily halted. “We are assessing the situation,” a Maruti Suzuki official told Quartz, without providing further details.
The leopard was discovered by security personnel at the factory’s engine plant at 4am, prompting local authorities to cordon off the facility and launch a search operation to find the animal. Scores of workers who arrived for the 7am shift were not allowed inside the factory, police officials told the Press Trust of India.
Abutting Gurugram in Harayana, Manesar is a dusty manufacturing belt with a number of units concentrated around the Industrial Model Township where Maruti Suzuki’s factory is located. It was once part of the forest range that covered the Aravalli mountains, which stretch from Delhi to Gujarat in the west, cutting through Gurugram. And although the forest belt close to India’s capital has been decimated, leopards haven’t entirely abandoned the area.
Some of India’s largest cities are home to a surprisingly large population of leopards. There are around three dozen of them living in and around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at the northern end of Mumbai, India’s financial capital.
Update: After ensuring the safety of employees and facilities, production was resumed beginning with the second shift on Thursday (Oct. 05), the company said in a statement, adding that the impact of the shutdown earlier in the day was nominal.