Three leopards found dead in Andhra Pradesh

April 4th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, April 4 (IANS) Three leopards, including two cubs, were found dead in the forests of Medak district in Andhra Pradesh Friday. The forest officials found the carcasses of a female leopard and her two cubs in Sherkhan Palli forest area of Hathnur mandal of Medak district, some 200 km from here.

The officials suspect that leopards were poisoned for their skin. The forest department has ordered a probe.

The leopards were found dead a day after villagers beat to death a male leopard in Nizamabad district. Villagers of Motu Sangam in Gandhari mandal of Nizamabad district Thursday killed the leopard that had strayed into their village.

The villagers chased it and beat it to death with sharp-edged weapons as the forest and police officials stood mute spectators. They claimed the mob had outnumbered them.

The forest officials said the seven-year-old male leopard was sick and hence could not run away. It had lost two toes of its rear left leg.

The forest officials are now contemplating to book at least four villagers for killing the leopard, which is a serious offence under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

The offenders, if proved guilty, could be awarded three to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

The villagers said the leopard had killed four cows and four goats, and feared it might have targeted humans next.

A series of incidents of leopards straying into villages has occurred in the state in recent months.

Last month forest officials caught a leopard which entered a house in Rajahmundry town.

Wildlife experts say increasing human activity in the forests, especially mining, was disturbing the habitat of leopards and hence they were straying into villages and towns.

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