The fear of a man-eater leopard continues to haunt local people living in and around Raiwala, on the Haridwar-Dehradun-Rishikesh highway.
In a fresh incident a labourer was killed by a leopard in the affected area on Monday morning. Thirty-seven year old Kala Singh and seven other persons were sleeping on roof of a forest post near Nepali farm. The jungle cat attacked and killed Kala Singh, who was sleeping at one corner of the roof.
The fresh incident forced the Uttarakhand forest department to intensify efforts to nab the leopard. The state forest department issued an order to identify, capture or hunt the leopard, which has become dangerous for human life.
This is the third incident in a span of 35 days. Earlier on 9 May, Sampati Devi was killed by the man-eater leopard when the lady had gone to collect wood for fuel.
Last month, Tekchand from Haryana got killed by the feline when the tourist had gone for attending toilet in open. Sixteen persons have lost their life in the past four years in a small patch of about 12 kms – starting from Motichur.
The Motichur to Nepali farm area witnesses a high number of man-animal conflicts in Uttarakhand.
With the growing number of incidents, the Rajaji Tiger Reserve sought permission from Uttarakhand’s chief wildlife warden DVS Khati to shoot down the man-eater. Rajaji Tiger Reserve’s director Sanatan Sonker said, “We have received permission to shot the man-eater leopard.”
The busy Haridwar-Dehradun-Rishikesh has witnessed a bloody man-animal conflict since 2014. Camera traps were installed in different parts of the affected area, falling under the control of Rajaji Tiger Reserve. The results obtained from camera traps indicate the presence of over a dozen leopards in the affected area from Motichur to Napali Farm.
In the last 5 years about 11 leopards were trapped in cages and moved to other parts of the tiger reserve. But the presence of a large number of leopards in the small area is alarming.
The latest incident took place in the wee hours. Even the presence of eight persons failed to create fear and force the leopard to flee. The man-eater attacked stealthily and others were awakened when they heard the sound of something falling from the roof. On hearing the sound they created noise. But it was too late as the leopard had by then dragged the victim 150 metres away.