January 8, 2019 5:49:48 am
Forest Department officials on Monday captured a leopard which is believed to have been involved in separate attacks on four people across Pavi Jetpur range in Chhota Udepur district.
Late on Sunday night, the leopard had attacked a farmer in Bandi village, leaving him severely injured. Following this attack on Ramsing Rathwa, who belongs to Zab village of Pavi Jetpur taluka — which was the fourth attack in four days — forest officials intensified their search.
The Forest Department officials had set up eight cages in the leopard’s territory, but failed to capture the animal. But on Monday, the leopard was finally spotted hiding in a farm and then tranquilised. During the operation, a forester, Vishnu Rathwa, was attacked by the leopard, injuring his hand severely, officials said.
As many as 150 forest officials, including Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Vadodara Range Sanjay Shrivastava, Deputy CCF Godhra range Anshuman Sharma, Assistants Conservator of Forests Raguvir Jadeja, Akshay Joshi and Kanchan Baria, Divisional Forest Officer of Chhota Udepur range Nilesh Pandaya, Veterinary doctor from Kamatibaug zoo in Vadodara C B Patel and wildlife activists Manoj Thakkar and Anna Patil were part of the rescue operation that began on Sunday late in the night.
Eight cages with goats, machines producing sounds of goats to attract the leopard and five automatic cameras were installed at various points across Pavi Jetpur forest range to capture the leopard. Five shots of tranquilizers were shot at the leopard, out of which four failed.
“The leopard has been sent to Pavagadh rescue centre. We will now examine the pug marks and the bite marks to confirm if the same leopard had attacked all the four people. We will continue to place our cages in the forest range if there is a possibility of presence of another leopard. On Tuesday, we will also conduct awareness programs across 10 villages in the range to educate them about what to do and what not to do when they face such animals,” said Divisional Forest Officer Nilesh Pandaya.
On Sunday evening, a leopard had first attacked an eight-year-old girl, Mittal Rathwa, who was playing outside her home. She was, however, rescued by the villagers and was first taken to Bodeli for treatment and later referred to Vadodara SSG hospital. Her condition is stated to be critical. Her uncle, Vikram Rathwa, who accompanied her to Vadodara said, “In many years this is the first case of such an attack in the village and there had been two consecutive attacks within a short interval and that has scared everyone in the village. The fact that the leopard came all the way to our house has scared us more.”
On the same evening in Bandi village after this attack, a two-year-old boy was mauled to death by a leopard.
According to forest officials, the boy Chirag Rathwa was sleeping on a cot a few metres away from his house in Bandi village of Pavi Jetpur, when the leopard attacked the infant and held him from his neck and tried to run away with him towards the forest. The boy’s parents and neighbours, however, chased the animal with sticks and knives, which made the leopard drop the kid and flee. Chirag, however, succumbed to his injuries before being taken to the hospital. Last week on Friday, a leopard had attacked and killed a 52-year-old man in his farm in Vavdi village in the same Pavi Jetpur forest range. A compensation of Rs 4 lakh was provided to the family of the deceased.
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