Two leopards killed two dogs and 20 goats in separate attacks over the weekend in Jodhpur and Udaipur districts, days after a big cat killed four people in villages adjoining the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.
Forest department officials on Sunday caught the leopard that killed two dogs on Friday and Saturday at Ghana Magra village in Jodhpur. The six-year-old male leopard has been sent to the Machia Biological Park for observation and will be later released in forests.
The other big cat entered the barn of a shepherd on Friday night in Udaipur’s Dedro Ki Dhani village, and killed 20 of his 22 goats. On February 15, another leopard had attacked two people in Udaipur’s Bhanor village.
Forest officials caught four leopards in areas near the Sariska reserve after the four killings between February 5 and 12. The officials claimed that the last animal caught on February 21 was behind the human killings.
“A pet dog in a farmhouse at Ghana Magra was killed by a leopard on Friday,” said Bhanwar Lal, sub-inspector at the Bilara police station. “The farmhouse owner saw the animal while it was jumping out, and told us that it was a big cat. On Saturday morning, a street dog was found missing from the village; its half-eaten body was found in the fields later in the afternoon,” Lal said.
Forest officials put a cage on Saturday evening with the dog’s carcass inside as a trap. “Around 3.30am on Sunday, the leopard was caught in the cage,” said Shravan Singh Rathore, who was part of the team tracking the animal.
“The leopard must have come from the forests in the Aravali foothills – the Todgarh-Rawali Wildlife Sanctuary or the Sendra village area,” added Rathore. This was the first incident of a leopard attack in Jodhpur district this year, he said.
Last year, forest officials had caught a leopard each in Pali, Jodhpur and Barmer districts in July, May and February, respectively.
Forest officials confirmed that a leopard attacked goats at Dedro Ki Dhani village. “It must have come from the Bhaisda Khurd forest block. Panthers sometimes come towards human settlements and hunt dogs, which they find an easy prey,” said Om Prakash Sharma, deputy conservator of forests, Udaipur (north).
“They (leopards) are afraid of humans and only in very rare cases attack them. With summers approaching, we are going to fill water holes in forests so that leopards and other wild animals do not veer towards human settlements.”