Suspected ‘man-eater’ leopard captured in Budgam after 12-day-long hunt

‘Pug marks and movement pattern indicate it was same leopard that mauled Ompora girl’
Suspected ‘man-eater’ leopard captured in Budgam after 12-day-long hunt
The girl from Ompora Housing Colony was lifted by the leopard on June 3 from her residence and her body was found the next day in the nearby forest nursery.Special arrangement

Budgam June 15: The ‘man-eater’ leopardess that mauled a minor girl to death earlier this month was captured Tuesday morning inside the premises of DC office Budgam in this central Kashmir district, authorities said.

Chief Wildlife Warden Kashmir, Rashid Naqash confirmed the development to Greater Kashmir.

Naqash said that after trapping the leopardess this morning, the fresh scat samples are being sent for DNA sampling to match with those already taken from the site where the minor girl from Ompora was mauled by the animal to death.

The girl from Ompora Housing Colony was lifted by the leopard on June 3 from her residence and her body was found the next day in the nearby forest nursery.

While ambiguities about the leopard will be cleared after the results of the DNA sampling of the scat samples, for now the pug marks of the animal and the pattern of its movement indicate that it is the same leopard that killed the girl, Naqash said.

The Chief Wildlife Warden further informed that the leopard will be taken to Dachigam for now where a veterinarian will carry out the necessary tests as per set protocol.

Pertinently, the district administration Budgam and concerned departments had swung into action after the tragic killing of the minor girl.

Naqash informed that around 100 team members from Forest Department, Forest Protection Force and Wildlife Department have been involved in the project directly monitored by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Dr Mohit Gera.

Besides, the head of Wildlife at SKUAST- Kashmir and another researcher also assisted in capturing the big cat, he added.

The team had established several camps at vulnerable spots including the DC Complex, Degree College and Ompora.

An exhaustive tracking of the leopard and the pattern of its movement was carried out through scientific methods and with the help of camera traps, drones and other means, Naqash said.

Although capturing the leopard should provide a sigh of relief, Naqash warned against lowering the guard.

" It is important to follow the advisory. It has been observed that if a leopard leaves a particular territory, another takes over, " he said.

The Chief Wildlife Warden Kashmir also suggested to avoid labeling the big cat as a "man-eater" leopard.

"They are rather child lifters as children are more vulnerable to its attacks, " he added.

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