Two killed in Uttar Pradesh leopard attacks

August 12th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  


Lucknow, Aug 12 (IANS) Two or three leopards that have attacked humans are on the prowl in two different parts of Uttar Pradesh. A seven-year-old child was killed while a woman and her son were seriously injured in separate attacks by a pair of leopards in the Dudhwa National Park. In another leopard attack, a girl was killed in Bahraich district. The seven-year-old child was devoured Sunday night by a leopard in Nishangara range of the national park. The woman, 25 and her son, 5, were badly mauled two days earlier in the same region, about 170 km from here.

The woman, who fought the beast with just a log of wood and saved not only her own life but also that of her son, was fighting for survival at a hospital.

Wildlife officials suspect that a leopard pair was on the prowl in the national park since January as a series of attacks on humans have been reported, though big cat experts doubt this, as leopards almost never move in pairs.

Wildlife officials see the close proximity of villages to the core area of the national aprk as the main reason behind repeated strikes by the wild cats in the region.

“The rains have made it worse as waterlogging in the core areas have compelled the animals to seek refuge in neighbouring areas. And once they find access to human beings who are the easiest of preys, they tend to turn into man-eaters,” a senior park official told IANS on telephone from Dudhwa.

“We are doing our best to contain the leopards, but they still do not qualify to be declared as man-eaters,” said B.K. Patnaik, state chief wildlife conservator.

“We have detailed a special team to capture the animals either through specially laid traps or by tranquilising them,” he added.

Dudhwa National Park runs across the thick green terai belt along the India-Nepal border. An estimated 27 leopards live in it.

Another leopard, which has already attacked four people killing one of them, was on the prowl in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district, where the Katarniyaghat forest reserve is located, a forest official said.

“Extensive arrangements are being made to trap the leopard in assistance with the officials of WWF,” said Ram Krishna Singh, Katarniyaghat’s divisional forest officer.

Three days back, in Bahraich’s Sujauli village, over 270 km from here, the leopard killed an eight-year-old girl.

“We had made arrangements for tranquilising the leopard. But, unfortunately the animal did not make an appearance,” said Singh.

Cages to trap the leopard have been put up, he added.

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