Hunters shot dead a man-eating female leopard, which had mauled several villagers in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, forest officials said on Sunday.
According to forest official, hunters shot dead the man-eating female leopard on Saturday after tracking the animal near Digoti village. Confirming the killing of the man-eater, a senior forest official said that hunters are now on the lookout for a man-eating male leopard, which is on the prowl in the area.
“Villagers and shooters believe there is a male leopard, which active also in the region,” divisional forest officer (DFO) Pithoragarh IP Singh told HT.
“The shooters are trying to trap it as well.”
The DFO said the man-eating pair was responsible for mauling 14 persons in the two neighbouring blocks for the past two years. In the wake of man-animal conflicts, the forest department had assigned hunters to track down the man-eating leopards.
The state chief wildlife warden had given consent to kill the two leopards-which become terror for villages around Thal and Didihati blocks in the district - by declaring them as man-eaters.
“We carefully studied pug marks and realized that a pair of leopards is active in both blocks that killed 14 people since 2012,” said forest department registered shooter Joy Hukil, who killed the man-eater. “We killed the female leopard on Saturday night.”
Hunters have laid a trap in the village to lure the man-eating male leopard. “We have put bait to trap the male leopard,” Hukil said. The hunter said the man-eating pair was active in Thal and Didihati blocks, which are separated by a 25km stretch of forest.
The leopard had killed a man in Mugrauly village on October 1, and another 35-year-old-man in Didihati. The bodies of both the victims were partially eaten.
The seven-year-old female leopard was possibly feeding on human prey as some of its teeth were missing and was not able to hunt other animals, he said. “It found humans an easy prey.”