Roar for Tigers

Leopard strays into Pilibhit village, sent to Lucknow Zoo

Leopard strays into Pilibhit village, sent to Lucknow Zoo

Jun 29, 2015

BAREILLY: Villagers of Mala Colony on the fringes of the Mala Range of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) were terror-struck on Saturday after a 14-year-old leopard entered a house here. The animal attacked 65-year-old Priya Bala and then went into another room in the house. The woman’s son, Shivam Poddar, locked the animal within and alerted forest officials who arrived with a cage to take it away. Villagers, however, gathered at the spot and prevented foresters from taking away the animal, saying nothing was being done to prevent wild animals from attacking them. It was five hours before forest officials could persuade villagers and transfer the animal into a cage. Even as it was shifted into the cage, the leopard made a swipe at the divisional forest officer (DFO), injuring him in the back.

On Sunday, the leopard was sent to Lucknow Zoo for treatment as its right leg was injured . DFO Kailash Prakash said, “Villagers were angry that the forests near their homes had been declared part of the tiger reserve. They are no longer allowed to cut wood there. Villagers also expressed disappointment that forest officials were unable to stop wild animals from entering the villages.” At one point forest officials, unable to win the villagers over, attempted to force their entry into the house. Women armed with lathis removed the cage and protested the attempted forced entry. Senior police officials later arrived with some politicians to convince villagers to let them take the animal away. Five hours later, as officials began to make arrangements to bring the leopard into the cage, a large group of villagers gathered to witness proceedings. “There were some people trying to capture the whole thing on video. I tried to cover the cage and the leopard struck me with his paw,” DRO Prakash, who was injured, said. Forest officers say the injured animal, unable to hunt in the wild, had been seeking easy prey in the village. “The leopard had entered the village three days ago too. It had fed on fowl in the village. It was looking for pets and domestic animals, which could serve as easy prey. There is little chance now of releasing it back into forests,” Prakash said.



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