Leopard which killed woman and child in Uttarakhand, shot dead
Hunters engaged by Uttarakhand forest department killed a ‘maneater’ leopard in Almora district on Thursday. The animal had killed two people earlier this month, including a one-and-a-half-year-old child, which had enraged the locals.
With this, two of the three leopards declared ‘maneaters’ by the forest department in last one month, have been eliminated.
Sanchita Verma, range officer, Almora forest range, confirmed the killing of the leopard.
According to the forest department, one-and-a-half-year old Harshit was killed by the leopard when he was playing in courtyard of his house in Udal village in Almora on July 6. Following protest by angry villagers, the leopard was declared ‘maneater’ the very next day by chief wildlife warden Uttarakhand on the request of Almora forest division. Two days after this incident, a mangled body of 70-year-old Anandi Devi also was recovered from Petshaal village of the same block on July 8. Forest officials claimed she was also killed by the same leopard.
After declaring the animals ‘maneater’, forest officials invited three hunters - Nawab Saifi Asif of Bijnor, Rajeev Solomon of Moradabad (both in Uttar Pradesh) and Harish Dhami of Nainital (in Uttarakhand) - for killing the leopard. The hunters reached Almora on July 8 and had started searching for the animal.
“We reached Almora on July 8 and since then were tracking the leopard. We spotted it on Friday but within seconds, it disappeared,” said Solomon.
“Saifi, Dhami and I were sitting and waiting for the leopard on a scaffolding (machaan) on Thursday evening. Suddenly the leopard appeared just 50 metres away from the spot where it had killed the child. On sighting it, we took the aim and opened fire. The leopard fell and didn’t move,” he added.
Saifi, another hunter, said, “Three shots were fired on the leopard with .375 magnum rifle and with .12 bore guns. The leopard died on the spot.”
Forest officer Sanchita Verma said, “Leopard was a 9-year-old female around 6.10 feet long. Its one tooth and a claw of the front paw were broken. Her claws were worn out and it is likely this is what made it to attack humans.”
After the killing of the ‘maneater’ leopard, the villagers of the area heaved a sigh of relief.