The carcass of a headless ‘big cat,’ initially suspected to be that of a tiger, caused a flutter here before forest and veterinary officers rushed to the spot and stated that the carcass was that of a leopard.
The severed head was lying nearby and the carcass was found at least 200 meters outside the Debrigarh Sanctuary. It is suspected that the cat has been dead for 8 to 10 days. Some of its nails and teeth were missing, said forest officers.
It is suspected that the leopard was killed by a trap laid by villagers who are out to protect their paddy from the wild animals.
“We are waiting for the post-mortem reports to come to a final conclusion,” said forest officers.
The initial surmise of a tiger being killed has been rejected.
Tiger sighting at Debrigarh was reported four months ago. Camera traps also have captured tiger movement in the sanctuary.
The area is prone to Maoist activities. In fact, forest officers have, in recent times, been cautioned about the presence of Maoists in the region by the security forces. They have removed some of the cameras from the core area as these are often taken away by the left wing extremists.