In a disturbing incident of man-animal conflict, Indian police shot dead a fully-grown leopard at Karad in western Maharashtra on Sunday afternoon, after the wild cat ran amok and injured six people. Of the injured, five are undergoing treatment at the Government cottage hospital where the condition of one Hanumant Mane was described as critical. Another injured person is being treated at a local private hospital.
The 45-minute drama unfolded at 1.15 pm in Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s hometown of Karad in Satara district, where residents in densely populated locality of Shaniwarwada panicked seeing the prowling leopard in one of its by-lanes and began to run helter-skelter. After initially having entered a house in the locality, the wild cat chased a few of the local residents and mauled them badly. The frightened residents alerted the police and forest officials about the presence of a leopard in their locality.
On being alerted by the frightened locals, the police and forest officials arrived on the scene minutes later. “By the time we reached the spot, the leopard had unleashed considerable panic among the residents. The wild cat came out of one of the houses and attacked a resident. Using sticks, we managed to rescue the person concerned. Before long, it pounced on another person, sat on his chest and began mauling him. I had no alternative but fire two rounds from service revolver at the wild cat,” Inspector Vikas Dhas said.
“The leopard died on the spot. If I had not shot at leopard, we could not have rescued the person from the clutches of the ferocious leopard. Unfortunately, the forest officials, who were at the scene, were not carrying tranquilizer guns,” Dhas said. Though it has not been established how and from where the leopard had strayed into the human habitation, the local forest officials have a reason to believe that the wild cat might have entered the Karad town from the nearby sugarcane fields, where the animal had earlier entered in search of prey.
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