Leop­ard burned alive in In­dia vil­lage

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

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 said 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.

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