Friday, May 25, 2007

India: Eight-yr-old boy killed in leopard attack

Express News Service

Vadodara, May 24: AN eight-year-old boy was fatally attacked by a leopard at Tharchoda village in Dahod’s Garbada taluka on May 22 when he was asleep outside his hut along with his elder brother and sister, according to forest officials.

In seven months three people have been mauled to death in leopard attacks mainly in Dahod, Godhra-Panchmahals forest divisions. In a similar incident last October, a leopard killed an eight-year-old girl in Panchmahal’s Lunavada.

The incident occurred in Nadelao forest area where leopards are mostly found. Though pugmarks of the leopard that attacked the child have been found, forest officials have not estimated its sex and age. Post mortem of the child is still awaited, said forest official.

RK Sugoor, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Baria forest division, Dahod district said the deceased, Sukhabhai Malabhai Kharad, along with his 25-year-old brother and sister was sleeping outside their hut.

“There were no other hutments in that area and the land where incident occurred was regularised by the forest officials for farming. Reportedly Kharad’s elder brother was staying in that area to till their land for farming,’’ said Sugoor.

He said that when siblings could not find him on May 22 morning, they thought he had gone to their parents’ house in Tharchoda village. But later, mauled body of the boy was found.

“Identification of the dead was done after his body parts were found,’’ said Sugoor. While the incident occurred on May 21 night, forest officials were informed on May 22 afternoon.

“Also, it took sometime for Kharad’s death confirmation,’’ he said.

In March 21, Puna Dharwa (65) was mauled to death after being reportedly attacked by two leopards, in Lukhadia village, Dhanpur taluka of Dahod district.

The two leopards were caught later by forest officials, and are now being kept at Sayaji Zoo in Vadodara. Also, leopards attacked two children ther same day, in another village in Dahod.

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