Human fury claims leopard's life

Probe ordered into killing of endangered animal

Forest officials carry the body of a leopard for postmortem at the Veterinary College in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. PTI

The Orissa Chief Wildlife Warden has ordered an inquiry into the killing of a leopard which was lynched on Thursday morning by some villagers after the animal strayed into a village located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

Leopard is bracketed as an endangered species in India and  killing it is a punishable offense under the Wildlife Protection Act.

“The chief wildlife warden has directed the Bhubaneswar city divisional forest officer (DFO) to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident and file a report as early as possible. Action will follow subsequently”, a  state forest department official said.

A group of children from Gandarpur village while  playing  cricket near the village saw the leopard behind a bush. When they raised an alarm, the villagers rushed to the spot and started pelting stones at the animal.

Desperate to free itself from the brutal attack, the leopard started running while launching a counter attack on the people, injuring four villagers in the process.
The injured villagers have been admitted into the state run capital hospital.
The man-animal tussle ended after the villagers mercilessly beat the leopard to death with sticks, iron rods and cricket bats.

Sources said, a team from the nearby Nandankanan zoo and zoological park made an attempt to reach the spot and save the animal with the help of tranquilizers but their effort went in vain as the villagers allegedly did not allow that.

After killing the animal, the villagers refused to let go its  body for  post-mortem, demanding compensation for the injured people. They finally agreed to release the body of the dead animal after three hours of persuasion by forest officials.

Wild elephants straying into the Bhubaneswar city and the villages nearby is nothing new. However, this is the first time a leopard entered a village on the outskirts of the state capital.

Forest officials said the animal could have sneaked into the village from the nearby Chandaka forests.

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