July 15, 2021 8:40:12 pm
In the sixth person to be injured in wild animal attack in less than a week in Gir (east) division of Junagadh wildlife circle, a farm labourer was injured after being attacked by a leopard on an agricultural field near Chalala town in Dhari taluka of Amreli district late on Wednesday night.
Forest officials said that labourers sleeping in the open due to lack of electricity in their farm cottages are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks by wild carnivores.
According to Dushyant Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle, farm labourer Dharath Padvi (50) was attacked by a leopard around 11.30 pm on Wednesday while he was asleep outside a shed on an agricultural field near Chalala town.
“He suffered injuries on his head and forehead. He was given primary treatment at Chalala health centre. RFO (range forest officer) and field staff are at the location where cages are being set up to trap the animal,” Vasavada added.
The attack on Padvi was the second by a leopard on humans near Chalala in around 24 hours. Ramkanya Vasava (22), an agricultural labourer, and Poonamsingh Bhuriya (10), a child with the labourers family, were attacked and injured by a leopard in Moti Garamali village near Chalala at around 11.30 pm on July 13.
On July 10, Sangita Thakar (30) and Nayana Mal (35), were injured after being attacked by a leopard while they were asleep outside their shed in Garamali village.
Garamali and Chalala are part of Chalala beat in Sarasiya range of Gir (east) division of Junagadh wildlife circle. On July 11, Kana Vaghela (50), a cattle-herder from Khambhaliya in Devbhumi Dwarka was injured after being attacked by a lion on near Semardi village in Dalkhaniya range of Gir (east) division.
Two-year-old Daya Madhsukhiya was killed in leopard attack in Bhandariya village near Palitana in Bhavnagar district on July 11.
“The three leopard attacks within five days have been reported within a radius of 10 kilometres and it is possible that more than one leopard are involved. We have placed three more cages to rescue the leopard. But intermittent rains and flooded nullahs are making agricultural farms in the area inaccessible,” Bhupat Vala, RFO of Sarasiya said.
The RFO added that in all the three incidents, the victims were sleeping in the open. “Labourers say they prefer to sleep outside their cottages as it is humid inside with no electricity,” the RFO said, adding, “Our staff is going around urging labourers and farmers to stay indoors at night. We are taking the help of village sarpanches and local MLA. Our attempt is to prevent more such incidents before the leopards are captured.”
Cyclone Tauktae hit Amreli on May 17, snapping power lines and flattening electrical poles across the district. The Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited is yet to revive most of the agricultural power feeders in the district.
“By setting up 10 trap cages, we have covered all possible routes of leopard movement. We are also offering fish as bait as we suspect that the leopards could have been drawn to cottages by the smell of leftover of non-vegetarian food,” added Vala.
“With the arrival of monsoon, more labourers and farmers remain on farm. As they sleep outdoors, they become more vulnerable to attacks by wild animals,” he added.
Leopard cubs killed in accident
A two-month old leopard cub was killed after being hit by an unidentified vehicle on Bhoringda-Gariyadahar Road near Krakach village of Amreli district in Liliya range of the Shetrunji wildlife division on Thursday.
“The cub was found injured on the roadsidebut it died while being taken to a rescue centre,” said Nisha Raj, deputy conservator of forests (DCF) of Shetrunji wildlife division.
This is second such incident in three days. On Tuesday, a five-month-old leopard cub was run over by an unidentified vehicle on a rural road in Moti Kherdi village on Moti of Amreli’s Rajula taluka in Rajula range.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.