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Leopard kills one more person in Rajaji reserve, half-eaten body recovered

The latest killing of a man happened in Khandgaon in Raiwala area, the 24 sq-km vulnerable patch, home to nearly 15 prowling leopards.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2018 22:40 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Rajaji Tiger Reserve,Leopard kills man,Uttarakhand
As per forest department figures, in past four years 22 people have lost their lives due to leopard killing in the region.(AFP/ Representative image)

Leopard killed one more person in the buffer zone of Rajaji Tiger Reserve on Wednesday, bringing the total mortalities to 22 in the last 4 years even as the forest department has hunted down one big cat and relocated eight more to control human-leopard conflict.

The latest killing of a man happened in Khandgaon in Raiwala area, the 24 sq-km vulnerable patch, home to nearly 15 prowling leopards. Of these 8 leopards were rehabilitated some two years ago and one was shot dead on July 11.

Officers informed there are four leopards active in the area, but a 14 year-old male is most dangerous .

The officers tried to put a bait to capture this notorious leopard, but it didn’t help matters.

“This leopard simply ignored the bait that we had put. We know now that it is not interested in hunting animals. But, it has become a man-eater,” said Rajaji director Sanatan Sonkar who said that traces of blood on its teeth and claws were camera trapped.

There’s no scarcity of prey base in Rajaji.

“Human beings are definitely easy prey as compared to wild animals,” Bivash Pandav, scientist at Wildlife Institute of India said. “Sometimes leopard turn to man-eating because of physical deformity, or old age or even without any reason. Some leopards once taste human flesh then continue hunting people.”

The forest department has installed over 100 cameras at several locations, officials said. The worst affected is Khandgaon village, where the incident happened on Friday.

The villagers here were rehabilitated in 1980 from Tehri but since then, they have been living in fear. At least 32 families left due to leopard terror .

As per forest department figures, in past four years 22 people have lost their lives due to leopard killing in the region.

AG Ansari, a wildlife activist said, “We need to identify problem leopards. Once a man-eater is identified then it should be kept under observation. Releasing such an animal anywhere would mean bringing danger to the people.

(With inputs from Sandeep Rawat in Haridwar)

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 22:40 IST