May 9, 2021 7:14:57 pm
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly attacked and killed by a leopard while she was sleeping beside her parents who are agricultural labourers on the terrace of their cottage in a farm in Nesdi village of Savarkundla taluka of Amreli district early on Sunday.
The incident comes a day after a man was allegely mauled to death by an Asiatic lion in Gir (west) wildlife division and a woman survived a leopard attack in Dhari taluka neighbouring Savarkundla.
Forest officers said the incident took place at around 1 am on Sunday when Payal Devka, her five siblings and their parents were asleep on the terrace of a cottage on an agricultural field that belongs to Gobarbhai Dudhat in Nesdi village.
“The cottage is around 10 feet high and the girl was asleep beside her father Kamlesh Devka, a migrant worker from Alirajpur district in Madhya Pradesh. The leopard apparently jumped over the terrace and grabbed the girl by her neck before jumping down. The father, alerted by his daughter’s cries, chased the carnivore and managed to force the animal abandon the girl around 80 metres away… but by then the girl had sustained fatal injuries,” Kapil Bhatia, range of forest officer (RFO) of Savarkundla in Gir (east) wildlife division told The Indian Express.
The RFO said the girl was rushed to a hospital in Savarkundla where she was pronounced dead. “The girl died within a short time due to injuries in her trachea,” Bhatia said, adding, “The labourer family was aware of the threat of wild animals and hence they used to sleep on the terrace… The cottage does not have a staircase and the family used to go up using a ladder…”
“There is a neem tree beside the cottage that the leopard could have used to climb to the terrace..,.” Yuvrasinh Rathod, assistant sub-inspector of Savarkundla-Rural police station, said.
This is the second human death in Gir landscape in as many days. Bahadur Dabhi (35), a bangle seller-cum-primus repairer was killed by an Asiatic lion when he tried to save his goat from the carnivore in Madhupur village in Talala taluka of Gir Somnath district around 1 am on Saturday. Talala falls in Gir (west) wildlife division under the Jungadh wildlife circle.
Kanchan Sarola (45), an agricultural labourer, was attacked by a leopard while she and her husband were working on an agricultural farm in Munjaniya village in neghbouring Dhari taluka of Amreli district on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. However, she escaped with minor injuries. Munjaniya is part of Dalkhaniya range in Gir (east) division.
“The body of the girl has been handed over to the family. We have placed trap cages to capture the leopard,” Bhatia added.
This is the eighth human death in man-animal conflict in the Gir landscape since late December 2020. Besides the Talala man, a 17-year-old girl was killed in a lion attack in Vanthali taluka of Junagadh. The rest six deaths, as per records of the forest department, have been by leopards.
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