After a four-day-long operation, forest department Wednesday managed to rescue the leopard, a five-year-old male, which had allegedly attacked and killed a seven-month-old infant in Bela village of Junagadh.
The leopard had allegedly sneaked into the on-farm hut of one Vipul Charola, an agricultural labourer of Bela village near Bilkha in Junagadh taluka of Junagadh district, on Saturday night. It dragged Charola’s seven-month-old son Shiva away while he was asleep beside her mother in the hut.
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The villagers and forest officers had tried to trace the leopard and rescue the child. But they could only salvage parts of his body the next morning from near a temple on the periphery of the agricultural farm.
“We had placed six cages to capture the leopard. A team of 30 trekkers and guards had been trying to rescue the leopard for the last four days. Eventually, the big cat took the bait Tuesday night and was caged subsequently,” Suresh Tilala, range forest officer of Dungar North, said. Dungar North range is part of Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Bela village is around 7 km from the border of the sanctuary, forest officers said. “We confirmed the identity of the leopard by matching pug marks of the animal which had attacked the boy and the one we caught last night. We also relied on the description of the leopard given by eye-witnesses. The leopard has been sent to Sakkarbaug Zoological Park for rehabilitation. The family of the victim has been paid Rs 4 lakh compensation,” he added.
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