A leopard was killed in retaliation after it attacked a man in a remote village in Assam’s Charaideo district on Friday and its body was mutilated by the locals who strung it by a pole, officials said on Saturday.
“The leopard had strayed out of a nearby forest, entered the village and attacked a man. An enraged mob gheraoed the leopard and killed it. They strung its body by pole. Different parts of its body like one foot, some teeth and nails, was cut off and broken by people. We rushed upon receiving the information, secured the location and recovered the carcass,” Anand Mishra, SP Charaideo, told The Indian Express. According to another source, a part of the tail was also chopped off, although the SP did not confirm that.
The leopard had strayed out from the nearby Halua Forest Reserve and had attacked Lileswar Changmai, 82, Friday morning in Laojan village of the district. The injured victim has been shifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh for further treatment. Mishra said Changmai’s condition is stable now. Forest officials said a case has been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act. The carcass has been taken for postmortem.
Leopards, along with elephants, have faced the brunt of Assam’s increasing man-animal conflict — every year in the recent past, multiple incidents have been reported. Last year March, a leopard which strayed into a village in Assam’s Dibrugarh district was thrashed to death by a mob and two such incidents were reported from Jorhat district in February and May last year.
“I personally feel that we have run out of options as far as leopards are concerned and it might be the end of the game for them,” prominent wildlife conservationist and Honorary Wildlife Warden (Guwahati) Kaushik Barua told The Indian Express.
Apart from leopards, cases of wild elephants coming into clash with humans has been a routine affair in Assam over the decades and conservationists point out to reasons such as degradation of elephant habitats, infrastructure development, blocking of traditional elephant corridors and expansion of human settlements.
Assam government data shows that 761 persons were killed by elephants in Assam since 2010 while 249 elephants lost their lives due to non-natural reasons in the same period. Of the 249 elephants killed since 2010, 20 died due to poisoning, 54 in train accidents, 91 due to electrocution, 38 in ‘accidental’ reasons, 30 due to poisoning and 15 due to injuries.
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