A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy was mauled to death by a leopard while he was playing on the edge of a red gram (tur) plantation in Nava Ugla village of Gir Somnath district on Thursday. This is the fourth human death due to attack by a wild animal in the greater Gir area in three weeks and third caused by leopards.
Forest officers said Hasmukh Makwana, the four-year-old boy, was attacked by a leopard at around 3:30 pm on Thursday.
“The child was injured on neck by a leopard while he was in the tur farm of Balubhai Navadiya along with his parents,” Dushyant Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of Junagadh Wildlife Circle said.
Nava Ugla village is part of Jasadhar range of Gir (east) wildlife division of Junagadh wildlife circle.
Officers of Gir (east) wildlife division said the boy’s parents were natives of Jikiyali village of neighbouring Khambha taluka of Amreli district but had migrated to Nava Ugla to work on agricultural land belonging to Navadiya. They said the boy died on the spot after being attacked by the carnivore. “
“The boy’s father Prafullbhai was harvesting drumsticks by climbing up a drumstick tree on the border of the tur plantation while the boy and his mother were underneath the tree. While the mother was looking in other direction, the leopard emerged from the tur plantation and attacked the boy. His father jumped down the tree and shouted away the wild animal. But the carnivore had attacked the boy’s neck and the child died on the spot,” Jayantilal Pandya, range forest officer (RFO) of Jasadhar said.
This is the fourth human death in conflict with wild animals in the greater Gir area. Bhavna Bamaniya, a 17-year-old tribal girl from Dahod district was killed by two lions on an agricultural farm in Dhanfuliya village of Vanthali taluka of Junagadh district in Gir Somnath social forestry division on December 21. On December 24, Arti Makwana, a 17-year-old agricultural labourer was attacked and killed by a leopard in a cotton plantation in Kasan village of Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district.
On January 1, Arjan Bheda, a 27-year-old farmer was killed after being attacked by a leopard in Vithalpur village of neighbouring Kodinar taluka of Gir Somnath district in Jamwala range of Gir (west) wildlife division.
The same night, Manju Khasiya, a 40-year-old woman was injured after a leopard entered her house and attacked her in Harmadiya village of Kodinar.
This is the second human death in Dhokdva revenue round of Jasadhar range in less than two months and third leopard attack on human in that area during this time. Dhaval Joriya, a two-year-old baby boy was killed by a leopard while his parents were working on an agricultural field in Luhari Mauli village. Shilpa Bariya (19), an agricultural labourer was injured after being attacked by a leopard in adjoining Nariyeri Mauli village.
“Due to good rainfall, enough irrigation water is available and farmers have planted crops like cotton, tur etc in which animals like leopard can easily hide themselves and often come in conflict with people working on farms,” the RFO said, adding, “We have placed five trap cages in Nava Ugla to rescue the leopard involved in the attack on Thursday.”
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