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Leopard kills 3 children in 3 days in MP’s Chhindwara district

The Madhya Pradesh forest department has launched a hunt to trap the elusive big cat which has spread terror in villages in the Chhindi forest range.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 18:09 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Chhindwara district,Leopard
File photo of a leopard . The animal involved in the attacks on the children in Chhindwara district is said to be a young one.(HT PHOTO)

A 12-year-old boy became the third victim of a leopard in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district in the last three days, prompting the forest department to launch a massive hunt to trap the ‘maneater’.

The half-eaten body of the boy was found in the forests of east Chhindwara on Wednesday morning, nearly 274 km south-east of Bhopal.

Nearly 200 officials of the forest department and 300 to 400 villagers are searching for the leopard which has unleashed terror in east Chhindwara.

SS Uddey, district forest officer (DFO), Chhindwara (east) said the leopard attacked the boy from Jhirpani village when he had gone with his mother to their farm on Tuesday evening.

“The leopard pounced on the boy and dragged him into the forest. We kept searching for the boy whole night in the forest. Finally we spotted his half-eaten body on Wednesday morning,” he said.

Uddey said the leopard killed two children on Sunday, a ten year old boy from Bijo Pathar area and a five-year-old girl from Mohli village. While the boy’s partially eaten body was later found, the animal left the girl’s body after killing her.

Chhindwara’s superintendent of police Gaurav Tiwari quoted the mother of the girl as saying that the leopard attacked the girl while they had gone into the forest area to collect firewood. The leopard caught the girl by her neck, puncturing it which led to her death, he said.

“Villagers who have seen the leopard say it is very agile and fast. It is apparently a young leopard who has started attacking humans. We don’t know why. It has never happened in this area earlier. As all the three villages where attacks have taken place are located within a range of 15 to 20 kms, it is mostly likely one leopard that is targeting children,” Uddey said

The three villages fall in the Chhindi forest range.

Uddey said that over 200 forest employees have been deployed to track and catch the leopard. Wildlife experts from Kanha, Pench and Satpura tiger reserves have also been drafted in.

“It is difficult to catch a leopard with a tranquilizer gun as it is very agile. So we are planning to put cages with goats or dogs as baits at half a dozen places in these forests”, he said, adding, “We are also putting 15 to 20 camera traps so that we can have information about its movement in this area,” he said.

Shrinking and fragmentation of leopard habitat and growing human population have increase leopard-man conflict. According to wildlife experts, among the four big cats, leopards tolerate proximity to humans better than lions and tigers. But they come into conflict with humans when raiding livestock, especially during periods of drought or when the leopard’s natural prey becomes scarce.

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 15:10 IST