Monday, November 19, 2007

Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala


Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala

Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 18 A leopard killed a three-year boy of a migrant labourer some 20 kilometres away from Talala town here. The incident occurred in a sugarcane farm located on the outskirts of Bhimdeval village. Later, the leopard was caught and brought to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir Forest headquarters.

The leopard attacked three-year-old Tejas (3), while he was sleeping by his mother’s side in a makeshift tent in a sugarcane field. The leopard snatched the boy from his mother and disappeared within moments in the nearby fields.

During this scuffle, the boy’s mother was awakened and resisted the leopard, but in vain.

Later, the victim’s father and other labourer families from nearby sugarcane fields started searching for the boy.

In the morning, labourers found some bloodspots in a nearby field. Forest officials from the Talala range forest office rushed to the spot and began a search operation, and recovered the boy’s body from the nearby field. The leopard had crushed the boy’s head and left part of the body. The boy’s remains were dispatched to the Talala community health centre for post mortem.

According to sources, the labourer family had migrated here some 20 days ago from Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The family were a resident of Dungerpatira village of Yaval taluka.

Officials further said this was the second such incident of a leopard killing a boy. Earlier in August, a 12-year-boy was killed at Aamodra Village in Una Taluka.

When contacted, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west) BP Pati confirmed the incident and said: “After the dead body was recovered, we laid four traps in the surrounding sugarcane fields and exactly at the same place from where the body was recovered. Later in the late evening, the leopard was trapped in a cage.”

The caged leopard has now been shifted to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir forest quarter, where it would now spend its remaining life in captivity.

Pati said the leopard possibly mistook the boy for a goat or any other animal.

“The incident occurred in the dark. Makeshift tent in which the labourer family was sleeping had no light and no door.

“More then 150 leopards have been sheltering in revenue area out side the Gir forest, in sugarcane fields particularly in three taluka namely Una, Talala and Kodinar,” he said.

He further said the victim’s family would be paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh as per the government’s existing guidelines.

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