Two days after a teenaged girl was mauled by two Asiatic lions in an agricultural field in Vanthali taluka of Junagadh district, a 17-year-old girl died after being attacked by a leopard at a cotton field in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district late on Thursday.
Forest officers said that a leopard pounced on Arti Makwana, an agricultural labourer, while she was washing clothes along with two other girls in a cotton field between 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm in Kasan village of Mahuva taluka.
“The girl was washing clothes on the farm of one Jivanbhai Patel when she was attacked by a leopard,” Dushyant Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle, said on Friday. The incident took place in Mahuva range of Shetrunji wildlife division in Junagadh wildlife circle.
“Three girls were having bath and washing their clothes in a cotton plantation after the day’s work when a leopard attacked Arti. The animal grabbed the girl’s throat and tried to drag her away. When the two other girls started shouting, carnivore left Arti behind. The injured teenager was rushed to a government hospital in Mahuva but died during treatment as her trachea was damaged,” said Nilesh Vegad, range forest officer (RFO) of Mahuva in Shetrunji wildlife division.
The RFO said that Arti and around 30 members of her extended family from Rajapara village of neighbouring Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district were camping in Kasana village for work.
On December 21, Bhavna Bamaniya (17), a tribal girl from Dahod district, was mauled by a two lions at a farm in Dhanfuliya village of Vanthali taluka in Junagadh district. The incident happened in the jurisdiction of Gir Somnath social forestry division and the two lions suspected to have been involved in the attack have since been caged.
“We have already placed four trap cages in the area and forest department teams are trying to locate the leopard involved in the attack in Kasan…,” the Mahuva RFO added.
Vegad said that the field where the leopard attacked Arti is around 10 km from reserved forest area of Jesar in Jesar taluka of Bhavnagar and that leopards have been settled in this area for years. The forest is also home to Asiatic lions.