Wednesday 18 September 2019

Men left in forest cage as bait for killer leopard


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Saptarshi Ray

Humans are being used as bait to catch a man-eating leopard that has killed three people in a week in India's western state of Gujarat.

The animal's victims included two children, and it has also injured five people in the Dahod district since mid-November. With goats failing to entice the big cat, three forest officials spent Friday night inside one of the nine cages in the forest in which the leopard is active.

SK Shrivastava, the region's chief conservator of forests, said: "Once in a while such experimentation is needed." The eight other cages contained animals.

The three men were a forest guard, an official trained to shoot tranquilliser darts and a vet. Mr Shrivastava said that the cage was securely locked and that the men were in minimal danger.

He said: "Initially we placed goats inside as bait, but it did not work. Now the men sit inside the cage, which is well-locked. (They) are supposed to alert others if they sight the leopard."

The latest victim was identified as Mathuri Ganava, who went into the forest on the morning of November 28 to get firewood with three other women. This was the third death due to attack by the same leopard within a week in the Dhanpur district.

The leopard attacked Ms Ganava and dragged her into the bushes, but the other women escaped. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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