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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Leopard creates scare in Rajasthan,Udaipur, forest department seeks ‘man-eater’ tag for animal

The leopard has killed two people and attacked several others,which includes a 15-year-old boy in Chanwda village.

jaipur Updated: Aug 08, 2019 13:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Leopard creates scare in Rajasthan.
Leopard creates scare in Rajasthan.(Reprentational image)
         

The forest officials of Udaipur district have approached the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan to declare a leopard “man-eater” after the animal killed two persons and attacked several others within a month.

In the recent incident, the leopard killed a 15-year-old boy in Chanwda village of the district on Monday evening. On Tuesday, the villagers were protesting with the body when the leopard returned and dragged away the body from the midst of 50-odd villagers. However, the body was later recovered from a spot about 150 metres away, said a forest officer.

Earlier, the leopard had killed a 45-year-old man on August 22.

“The leopard has killed two people and attacked several others. What it did on Monday night – dragging body away even when people were sitting around it – is uncharacteristic of a normal animal,” said Ajay Chittora, deputy conservator of forest, Udaipur.

He said the district forest office has written to the chief wildlife warden of the state to begin process to declare the leopard a man-eater. “We have called Dr Arvind Mathur from Jaipur to tranquilize the leopard,” he said.

The DCF said the leopard has been active in four villages of the Parsad forest range in the district. “After reports of attacks, we set up four cages in each of these villages to trap the predator but have failed to catch it,” he said.

The leopard killed the boy in Chanwda village around 4.30pm on Monday. The villagers were sitting with the body to protest when around 4.30am, it dragged the body away. “When we ran behind it, it left the body,” the officer said.

On Tuesday, the villagers again protested with the body, demanding that the animal be killed. “There are NTCA guidelines for declaring an animal a man-eater. We have written to Jaipur to begin the process,” Chittora said.

The protest ended around 4pm on Tuesday, following which the postmortem was done at Parsad government hospital and the body was handed over to the family for cremation.

The officer said they were searching for the leopard. “So far nearest that we have been to it (the leopard) is 14 feet, which is a good distance to shoot a dart but because the animal was running, we couldn’t shoot,” he said.

In stable position, the officials saw the leopard at a distance of 200 metres. “At this distance, darts cannot be shot. For that, the distance should not be more than 40 feet,” he said.

Udaipur has scattered population of leopards. According to the Wildlife Census 2016, the total leopard population of Rajasthan is 508.

Rajasthan is the first state in the country to launch a project to conserve leopards by improving their prey base, mitigating conflicts with humans and controlling poaching. The project was launched in March 2017. Jaisamand Sanctuary in Udaipur is part of the project.

Leopard is an endangered animal under schedule one of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Around 20 leopards have been killed between 2014 and 2016 in accidents or by humans when they strayed into human habitations or agricultural fields.