Leopard cats kill one

March 10th, 2009 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, March 10 (IANS) Leopard cats, which average the size of domesticated cats, have killed one person and injured at least 25 people in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district, officials said Tuesday.
The leopard cats have triggered panic in Ramaipurwa and Manoharpur villages since Monday morning, divisional forest officer V.P. Singh said. Balrampur is about 200 km from here.

He said Badullah, 60, died Monday after being attacked by the wild cats.

Leopard cats, Prionailurus bengalensis, are about the same size as domestic cats but with longer legs. They usually hunt small mammals, fish birds and reptiles for food.

Officials blame the villagers for the sudden rise in such attacks.

“Locals, especially of the two villages, have disturbed the natural habitat of leopard cats in Sohelwa forests,” V.P. Singh said.

He said by cutting down trees for firewood and other household requirements, the villagers had compelled the leopard cats to come out of the forests.

“We have asked the health department to administer anti-rabies vaccination to all those injured by the wild cats.”

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