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Forest Department officials on Monday captured a leopard which is believed to have been involved in separate attacks on four people across Pavi Jetpur range in Chhota Udepur district.

The Forest Department officials had set up eight cages in the leopard’s territory but failed to capture the animal. But on Monday, the leopard was finally spotted hiding in a farm and then tranquilised. During the operation, a forester, Vishnu Rathwa, was attacked by the leopard, injuring his hand severely, officials said.

As many as 150 forest officials, including Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Vadodara Range Sanjay Shrivastava, Deputy CCF Godhra range Anshuman Sharma, Assistants Conservator of Forests Raguvir Jadeja, Akshay Joshi and Kanchan Baria, Divisional Forest Officer of Chhota Udepur range Nilesh Pandaya, Veterinary doctor from Kamatibaug zoo in Vadodara C B Patel and wildlife activists Manoj Thakkar and Anna Patil were part of the rescue operation that began on Sunday late in the night.

Eight cages with goats, machines producing sounds of goats to attract the leopard and five automatic cameras were installed at various points across Pavi Jetpur forest range to capture the leopard. Five shots of tranquilizers were shot at the leopard, out of which four failed.

“The leopard has been sent to Pavagadh rescue center. We will now examine the pug marks and the bite marks to confirm if the same leopard had attacked all the four people. We will continue to place our cages in the forest range if there is a possibility of the presence of another leopard. On Tuesday, we will also conduct awareness programs across 10 villages in the range to educate them about what to do and what not to do when they face such animals,” said Divisional Forest Officer Nilesh Pandaya.

On the same evening in Bandi village after this attack, a two-year-old boy was mauled to death by a leopard.

According to forest officials, the boy Chirag Rathwa was sleeping on a cot a few meters away from his house in Bandi village of Pavi Jetpur, when the leopard attacked the infant and held him from his neck and tried to run away with him towards the forest. The boy’s parents and neighbors, however, chased the animal with sticks and knives, which made the leopard drop the kid and flee. Chirag, however, succumbed to his injuries before being taken to the hospital. Last week on Friday, a leopard had attacked and killed a 52-year-old man in his farm in Vavdi village in the same Pavi Jetpur forest range. A compensation of Rs 4 lakh was provided to the family of the deceased.

Date: 16 Jan 2019
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/leopard-captured-after-spate-of-attacks-in-jetpur-5527775/