News of production pauses are more often these days. The chip shortage impacted vehicle assembly, forcing automakers to idle some assembly lines or fit cars with fewer electronically-controlled features. The most recent plant to temporarily halt operations is the Mercedes-Benz line in Chakan, India.
However, the stoppage is not because of the chip shortage or slow sales. The reason is probably a first for Mercedes-Benz or most automakers. A leopard made its way into the facility and wandered around for a few hours. Understandably, it caused some alarm for the employees, but at least they didn’t take matters into their own hands.
The Chakan Forest Department and Wildlife SOS led the rescue of the lost and frightened leopard around the plant. The teams eventually found it around the manufacturing unit and stayed near piles of boxes and pallets. Once it stayed put long enough, the leopard was tranquilized from a safe distance and hurried off the factory.
According to Wildlife SOS, the leopard is male and about three years old. It took about four hours to complete the rescue, and plant operations paused for about six. The young leopard is currently under medical observation before its release in the wild.
While headlines like these grab attention, it also reflects the habitat loss for wildlife. Per Wildlife SOS, a likely factor for the leopard to head towards the plant is because of the adjoining areas surrounded by forest patches. The organization adds that the leopard possibly came from that area. Also, the Mercedes-Benz assembly line is in Maharashtra and has one of the highest population densities for leopards in the world.
Because of that, there is a chance something similar to this could happen again. Thankfully, the incident ended with humans and animals emerging unscathed and unharmed.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in India assembles models such as the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, and CLA Coupé. It also rolls out the GLA, GLC, GLE, and GLS crossovers. That same plant has been exporting the GLC to the US since 2018.