Indore: The usual festive Diwali mood turned anxious and worrisome for villagers in Guniyara, as two traps were set in the village of Dhar district to catch the leopard on Saturday, which mauled a 7-year-old girl to death on Dhanteras night.
The leopard has most likely fled and won’t appear for months back in the same village having lost its kill.
However, it is not unusual for leopards in Dhar district villages to turn savage and attack children. Earlier this year, in February 2020, a leopard attacked and killed a seven-year-old boy sleeping with his parents and siblings in an agriculture field in small Pipliya and Amjhera village of Dhar district.
It is possible that this is the same leopard, which has turned ‘man eater’ and attacked the little girl to quench his thirst for an easy meal. “Humans are the easiest meal for many wildcats because we are not hairy and difficult to peal and eat unlike other wild animals,” deputy ranger Rajaram Kalyane said. He set the trap for catching the leopard and spent Diwali protecting villagers, playing his role as forest warrior.
“We spent the day searching through the dense forests around the spot to find the leopard's foot mark throughout the day, but no pug marks were found,” Kalyane said. He added that since most area is rocky, it is not practical to expect pug marks.
“However, since our search expedition was carried out by the entire rescue team in the jungles of the 5 km area around the site,” Kalyane said.
“We placed the first cage near the Anganwadi, a place told by the villagers to catch the leopard and another cage is placed in the west direction, as villagers informed spotting the leopard there,” Kalyane said.
Second attack by leopard
The 7-year-old girl was sleeping with her father outside the hut. They were sleeping outside to protect their corn harvest. However, the leopard sneaked in and mauled the little girl to death.
“The leopard had taken the girl about 500 feet below the hill into a crater,” Kalyane said.
As soon as the father realised that his daughter was missing, the entire village looked around and found the leopard in the crater.
Before the leopard could savage his kill, the villagers attacked him with stones and rescued the girl. However, the girl had already lost her life.
The villagers have been warned by the team that no one should sleep outside the house. Leopard is savage and might strike again.