Thursday, March 22, 2012

Leopard mauls girl to death in Junagadh

Leopard mauls girl to death in Junagadh
Times of India

In yet another incident of leopard attack on humans, an eight-year-old girl was killed by the wild cat in Inaj village of Veraval taluka in Junagadh district on Tuesday night.

The deceased has been identified as Asmita Bharad. The girl was staying with her family in a makeshift arrangement in a local mine near the village.

According to forest officials, on Tuesday night at around 8.30 pm, Asmita came out of her hut and was walking towards other shelters when a leopard suddenly intercepted her. The animal clutched her from the neck and dragged her in the fields.

"The leopard mauled her so badly that we could find only parts of her skeleton," a forest officer said.

"There are many people living in different huts and work in mines in the area. A rescue team has been called in to nab the leopard. We have placed five cages to nab the leopard. We are hopeful to catching it," range forest officer, Veraval range, B V Padsala said.

This is the third incident of leopard attacking children in the last two months. In all cases, the victims have been young girls.

Earlier, one-year-old Sapna Damor of Madhya Pradesh was killed by leopard in sugarcane field in Junagadh district.

On February 10, a leopard dragged away 12-year-old girl Nirmla Puwar from Ghantiya village of Sutrapada taluka of Junagadh district and killed her.

"The migrant workers' families are staying in sugarcane fields which turn into leopards' habitat during the end of sugarcane harvesting season. Also, this area is leopard habitat and the number of wild cats is huge," Padsala said.

At least six people have been killed by leopards since February 2011 in Junagadh district.

"The incidences of human killing by leopards can't be avoided if government takes strict action against owners of the farms where labourers are working and living in open areas. Migrant labourers must be given safe shelters,'' wildlife activist Dinesh Goswami of Prakriti Nature Club, Kodinar, said.

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