A Massive Jungle Predator Caused a Production Halt at Mercedes-Benz Plant

The ongoing chip shortage has had automotive plants worldwide shutting down for the past two years. However, the Mercedes-Benz plant in India was shut down recently for a very different reason. A difficult coworker is one thing, but trying to do your job while a wild leopard stalks you is another deal entirely. This must be the strangest production delay we’ve seen yet.

How did a leopard get into the Mercedes-Benz plant? 

Imagine getting that order update from Mercedes: “Unfortunately, your new Mercedes-Benz is delayed due to a leopard running free in the factory. We aren’t sure what to do about it; so, hang tight” (at least that’s how I wish it went)

According to the Drive, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Chakan, India, shut down this weekend because a wild visitor got inside and had the employees a little nervous. While that may be the understatement of the week, the employees were so scared that they left the factory floor, causing the plant to shut down for several hours. 

How do you get a leopard out of a Mercedes-Benz factory?

Mercedes-Benz Alabama Battery Plant
Mercedes-Benz Alabama Battery Plant | Mercedes-Benz

Apparently, you call Wildlife SOS, a widespread animal rescue organization with 12 locations throughout the country. Wildlife SOS says the 3-year-old male leopard just wandered into the plant, at which point the workers promptly left, halting production. 

First, Mercedes-Benz employees called the State Forest Department, which quickly connected them with Wildlife SOS. The Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center rushed to assist. The team traveled about 43 miles with four staffers and two veterinarians, ready for action. 

Once the factory employees were evacuated and the building secured, the big cat wranglers tracked the young leopard. Once they found the wild cat, Dr. Nikhil Bangar cracked the leopard with a tranquilizer. 

The Drive notes that once the leopard was sleeping soundly, he was removed from the Mercedes-Benz plant, where the vets checked him out for injuries or illness. After the young cat got a clean bill of health, Wilderness SOS released the leopard back into the wild. 

It’s not as quite as crazy as it sounds

close up shot of a big jungle cat's eye
A close up on a big cat’s eye | CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

This is a pretty sensational day on the job by any standards, but leopards are not as uncommon in this part of the world. In fact, the district of Maharashtra has the highest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world. Even still, that clearly didn’t make anyone at the factory feel less terrified to see the adolescent big cat prowling through the Mercedes-Benz plant. 

In 2017, a similar incident happened in a region of India over 800 miles away, in New Delhi. Another young leopard spent nearly two days evading the cat grabbers inside one of India’s largest factories. 

“Due to rapid habitat loss, leopards of Maharashtra are being forced to venture into human-dominated areas,” Wildlife SOS said in a release about the incident. “Our team is trained to ensure that such situations are handled with the utmost caution, keeping in mind the safety of the leopard as well as humans.” 

People tend to act wild when confronted with “dangerous” wild animals. Thankfully, the time it all worked out. The leopard didn’t hurt anyone, nor was he hurt himself. The whole ordeal only shut down the factory for a few hours, hopefully not affecting Mercedes-Benz customers too much. 

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