A leopard suspected of killing a woman a week ago got caught in a cage set up by the forest department near Kandoliya in Pauri on Tuesday morning.
The department had set up this cage about 200 metres away from the spot where the mauled body of Luxmi Devi was found on September 22. It is suspected that the same leopard had killed her when she had gone into the forest to collect fodder.
KC Thapliyal, forest ranger, Nagdev Range told HT the beast seemed to be a full grown 8-year-old male leopard.
Residents of Chuincha and Pauri had demanded that the forest department declare the leopard a maneater but it did not do so. The department normally declares those leopards as maneaters which enter villages and kill people and not those that kill people in forests. It set up two cages to catch the animal instead.
After being caught, the leopard banged its head against the bars of the cage apparently out of frustration and started bleeding.
Ramesh Chandra, divisional forest officer, Pauri told HT that the leopard would soon be transported to a leopard rescue centre at Ranibag in Nainital forest division. It seems to be the same leopard that killed Luxmi Devi because it was caught in the cage set up near where the body was found, he added.
Wildlife photographer Dinesh Rawat said he has seen many leopards lurking in this area. Nonetheless, leopard mortality in Uttarakhand is the highest in the country. According to the statistics of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), an NGO, Uttarakhand lost 64 out of total 328 leopards in 2014; 119 out of 327 in 2013; and 103 out of 332 in 2012. Man-leopard conflicts are highest in two districts, Pauri Garhwal and Almora.