A leopard in India attacked and killed a 3-year-old child, while she was with her parents.
The incident took place Saturday in the northern state of Uttarakhand. According to local media reports, the child was walking with her parents in the courtyard of her house when the leopard leapt and snatched the girl from her mother.
The animal then ran toward the forest, following which the victim’s parents raised an alarm and a search was conducted to locate the girl and the animal. Hours later, the mutilated body of the girl was recovered from the forest in Berinag in Pithoragarh district, Rajyasameeksha reported.
The principal conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of the state Dr. Sameer Sinha urged all divisional forest officials to increase surveillance in their areas amid the attack.
“As per the directions by the CM, the officials immediately reached the house of the deceased. The officials also set up two cages there and gave some compensation amount to the family members of the deceased girl,” Sinha said, according to the New Indian Express.
It remains unclear if the leopard has been responsible for any other previous attacks in the region.
A similar incident took place in August in the western state of Gujarat, where a leopard dragged away an 8-month-old child from his mother’s lap. The woman was inside her house in a village, breastfeeding her child, when the animal attacked. The mother chased the leopard for a distance, but the big cat disappeared. A day later, the child’s mutilated body was found in the forest area of Nani Dungri.
Leopard and human conflict has seen a rise in the state and other parts of the country. This has been blamed on more forest land being used for farming, making people come in close contact with the animals in their natural habitat.
At least 37 people have reportedly been killed in the human-wildlife conflict since the beginning of this year. Also, 115 people have been injured in various attacks by leopards, elephants, tigers, bears, snakes and wild boars in the state. The conflict has not only increased fatalities among humans, but also among many animals, who have been killed due to the threats they pose.