Man-eater leopard that killed 2 women shot dead in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh
- Chief wildlife warden can declare any wild animal as a threat to human life and as such fit to be destroyed under the Wildlife Protection Act.
A man-eater leopard, which killed two women in Pithoragarh last month, has been shot dead by a hunter engaged by the Uttarakhand forest department, an official said.
"A eight-year-old leopard was declared man-eater on February 18, after it killed a woman in Kapri village in Kanalichhina block of the district. The leopard was shot dead by a forest department appointed hunter Rajeev Soloman in Kanalichhina block on Tuesday evening," said Naveen Chandra Pant, sub-divisional forest officer of Pithoragarh forest division.
"The leopard had injuries on its two legs, and it probably started attacking humans because they are easy prey. The carcass has been sent for post-mortem examination" he said.
On February 28, the leopard killed a 70-year-woman Tulsi Devi in Suroli village of Pithoragarh district. The woman had gone missing in the day. Villagers later found her remains in the forest, 150 metres from the village.
On February 18, the leopard killed 50-year-old Kalavati Devi in Kapri village. After this attack, furious locals demanded that the leopard be shot dead.
Chief wildlife warden, through the invocation of Clause 11 (1) (a) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, can declare any wild animal as a threat to human life and as such fit to be destroyed. The Act states that ‘chief wildlife warden of the state may, if he is satisfied that any wild animal specified in Schedule I has become dangerous to human life or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, by order in writing and stating the reasons, therefore, permit any person to hunt such animal or cause such animal to be hunted’.
The forest official said this was the third man-eater leopard to have been killed this year in the Kumaon region. On January 26, a 10-year-old leopard was killed by hunter Ramesh Chauhan. On February 5, a 9-year-old leopard was killed by hunter Harish Dhami in Pithoragarh district.
The increasing man-leopard conflict in the state often leads to protests by villagers, especially if a child is killed in a leopard attack. In June 2018, angry villagers in Harinagari area of Bageshwar set a forest on fire after a leopard killed a seven-year-old boy.