IMPACT | 4 November 2016
A caged leopard died when it was set on fire by a mob hours after it had killed a girl in India’s Gujarat state.
Eight-year-old Nikita Vasava was on her way to a farm on Wednesday in Vadigam village when the leopard attacked her.
The leopard was trapped in a cage, but angry villagers set the cat on fire.
Leopards and other big cats have been known to stray into populated areas, and conservationists have warned that such confrontations may increase as humans encroach on animal habitats.
Forest official RS Gadhvi told that forest workers had trapped the leopard hours after the girl was killed.
“We laid seven cages around the village and trapped the big cat. But angry locals came with cans of fuel and torched the cage with the big cat inside. Forest officials guarding the cage where shooed away,” he said.
There have been several instances of man-animal conflict in India in recent years.
In July, a group of men killed a leopard with sticks and stones in Gujarat’s Rojmal village.
With 1,395 leopards, Gujarat has the second highest population of the cats in the country. More than a third of these cats live close to human habitation.
Last year, more than a dozen people, mostly farm workers, were killed and over 100 were injured in leopard attacks.
In many villages of Gujarat, people light small fires while working on fields to keep the cats away.
In February, a male leopard entered a school in the city of Bangalore and injured six people trying to capture it.
And in October last year, a male leopard spent five hours with its head stuck in a metal pot in a village in the northern state of Rajasthan.