The problem leopard in Umred-Kuhi area of Nagpur district killed a woman in a farm near Tarna village Tuesday,triggering tension and public anger.
The animal had earlier injured three people. Efforts by the forest department to capture it since the first attack on August 10 have not succeeded.
The leopard pounced on Babybai Uike,aged about 50 years,when she was sowing chillies with five or six other women around 5.30 pm. The womans shrieks attracted the group which raised an alarm,following which the animal ran away. But Babybai succumbed on the spot, Divisional Forest Officer P K Mahajan told The Indian Express.
Villagers angry with the forest departments failure to capture the leopard refused to collect Babybais body for two hours after the incident.
We have put up two cages since August 15,but it is refusing to fall into the trap, Mahajan said.
Despite so much pressure,the animal is hardly deterred.
Nobody seems to know why the leopard began attacking humans. Unlike most cases of man-animal conflict,the attacks have happened in villages and farms,not forests.
This is clearly a crisis. From my experience in western Maharashtra,I can say that leopards that have been trapped once succeed in avoiding cages. Also,those caught outside protected areas but released inside generally tend to get into conflict with humans, wildlife biologist and leopard scholar Vidya Athreya said.
A leopard was caged on June 10 after it entered a house in Ranbodi village nearby,and was released in the wild the next day.
Mahajan said the problem leopard could be the same one. We are checking available photographs. It could be the same animal.
Asked why shoot orders were not being issued,Mahajan said,I will now send a report to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) S W H Naqvi,who will take a call.
Asked for a comment,Naqvi said,We have to exhaust all options before shoot orders are issued. I will decide after getting a report from the DFO.