Two Uttarakhand women battle leopard with bare hands for 10 minutes, survive | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Two Uttarakhand women battle leopard with bare hands for 10 minutes, survive

The women managed to stave off the leopard but sustained multiple injuries. They are now recuperating at the district hospital in Almora

dehradun Updated: Oct 10, 2017 11:03 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Uma Devi recovering at Almora hospital
Uma Devi recovering at Almora hospital (HT Photo)

DEHRADUN: Sisters-in-law Pooja, 24, and Uma,35, from Pilkha village in Almora district, some 370km from Doon, are closer than ever after a brush with death.

Uma - the elder of the two - along with Pooja wrestled with bare hands a full grown leopard in a forest for nearly 10 minutes on Sunday, local villagers said. The women somehow managed to stave off the leopard but sustained multiple injuries in the desperate fight. They are now recuperating at the district hospital in Almora.

Village head Ramesh Singh said the two women had gone to the forest on Sunday to collect fodder. While Pooja was working, the leopard hiding behind shrubs surfaced. “And before she could make out anything, the leopard attacked. Uma, who was standing nearby, rushed to save Pooja.” Ramesh told Hindustan Times over phone on Monday.

In the struggle, a scythe slipped from Uma’s hand and she had no choice but to fight with bare hands. The leopard left Pooja and attacked Uma. But the sisters-in-law kept at bay the leopard until it scampered into the woods when the two women screamed for help.

Singh said, half a dozen leopards, including a mother and two cubs, are seen close to the village. “We earlier trapped two leopards after the forest department provided us a cage. Unfortunately, the cages are not available easily,” the village head complained. Almora is often in news for frequent cases of human-animal conflict. Leopards usually attack women and children as they are easy prey.

Forest officer Sanchita Varma agreed that issuing a cage to villagers takes time due to red tape. She said the department has placed a cage to trap the leopard after the Sunday’s attack on the two women. “An initial compensation of Rs 5,000 was released to the injured. The forest department will make all efforts to catch the leopard,” Varma told HT.

As many as 2,335 spotted cats were counted in Uttarakhand in the last leopard census held in 2008. More than 600 people were killed and some 3,100 injured in leopard attacks ever since Uttarakhand came into being in 2000. In the same period, more than 100 leopards were declared as man-eaters.