Leopard claims 4th victim in Karnataka’s Tumkur, sparks panic

The Forest Department says it has set up 20 traps but the big cat has so far eluded them.
A signle is suspected to have killed four people so far since October last year.(Representative Photo)
A signle is suspected to have killed four people so far since October last year.(Representative Photo)
Updated on Mar 01, 2020 02:03 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bengaluru | By Venkatesha Babu

A three year old girl in Baichanhalli village in Karnataka’s Tumkur district was killed by a leopard while she was playing outside her home on Saturday night around 8 pm, villagers said.

She became the fourth human victim of a leopard in the district since October last year. Villagers say their appeal to forest officials to capture the animal has fallen on deaf ears.

The latest victim was the granddaughter of gram panchayat member Ganga Chikkanna. Her grandparents and her parents - Srinivas and Shilpa - were inside the house when she was attacked and carried away. When the child didn’t come in even after some time, worried parents sounded an alarm. Her body was later discovered a short distance away with bite marks on her face and arms around 10.30 pm at night.

The first of the four victims, 60-year-old Lakshmamma of Kuppe village who had gone to graze her cattle was killed on October 17, 2019. The next was 60-year-old shepherd Anandiah of Doddamaralavadi who was killed on November 29 while Samarth Gowda, a 5-year old boy of Manikuppe was killed on January 9, 2020.

A villager named Nanjappa speaking to HT on phone said “We are terrified to go out after dark or even to go and work in our fields during daytime. We are afraid to allow our kids to go out and play. This is the fourth kill by the leopard in the last four months. In spite of our repeated appeals the forest department has not done anything to capture the leopard. We had appealed to them to set up traps for the man-eating animal. They have done nothing.”

However, a forest department official who did not want to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to media said “We have made attempts to capture the leopard. Nearly 20 traps have been set up in Huliyuru Durga, Chikkamaralavadi, Doddamaralavadi and Manikuppe areas where it is known to frequent. This particular animal seems to have developed a taste for human blood especially the very young and old who cannot fight back. However, there is a larger issue that unfortunately human beings are encroaching into their territory and complaining about being attacked. In the past too we have captured and relocated leopards like in January 2018 when we captured a leopard and released it in Bannerghatta National Park.”

Karnataka’s forest minster Anand Singh is expected to visit the district Sunday and meet the families of victims as well as discuss with department officials on how to capture and relocate the animal. The animal has not yet been declared a man eater.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021