A 20-year-old man was killed by a leopard in Jharkhand's Garhwa district, the fourth such death in the last three weeks, an official said on Thursday. It is suspected that all four people were killed by the same leopard, he said, noting that the Garhwa forest division was finalising a draft proposal to declare it a man-eater.
The leopard attacked the boy, identified as Harendra Nayak, when he was returning home from his uncle's house in Kushwaha village in Ramkanda around 6.30 pm on Wednesday, Garhwa Divisional Forest Officer (South) Shashi Kumar told PTI. "The leopard pounced on the neck of the boy and he died on the spot," he said. This was the fourth such incident in the region in the last 20 days, he added.
A six-year-old girl was killed by the leopard in Sevadih village in Ranka block on December 19, while another six-year-old child was killed in Rodo village in Bhandariya block on December 14. On December 10, a 12-year-old girl was mauled to death in Chipadohar area in the nearby Barwadih block of Latehar district. "After the incident on December 19, we kept monitoring the area through drone cameras. But, we found no trace of the leopard. We thought it might have left the area," Kumar said.
"After the latest incident, we have started finalising our draft proposal to declare the leopard as a man-eater. It will be sent to the chief wildlife warden for approval," he added. The forest department has also ordered three cages to capture the animal. Kumar said that villagers were not paying any heed to the forest department's advisory of not venturing out after sunset.
"We have warned villagers, particularly women and children, not to come out of their houses after the sunset as the leopard has been attacking during this time. If they need to go out, they should be accompanied by a group of men. We have been making this appeal since December 15," he said.