A ‘poaching’ case has been registered against unknown persons for “killing and skinning” a leopard in Kulgam’s Khud Hanjipora village, officials said on Saturday.
The incident of allegedly skinning the animal after it was “beaten” to death had evoked widespread criticism on social networking sites.
On April 3, a video showing a “bleeding” leopard lying on the ground while a group of people purportedly using blades to skin the animal was shared across social networking sites. In the video, a voice was heard asking the group to refrain from “skinning the animal.”
Wildlife Warden, south division, Abdul Rouf Zargar said the incident occurred in the village near Noorabad on April 2 at around 2:30pm.
“Five days before the incident, a female leopard had ventured into the village and injured some children. On April 2, it came again in the village and soon a crowd pounced upon it. The people attacked the animal. It was beaten to death with sticks,” said Zargar.
Zargar said the official from the department had arrived in the village soon after receiving the information about the incident on the same day.
He said the body of the animal was recovered from the village near a gorge. “The animal was about 30 percent skinned, while 70 percent of its hide was intact,” he said, adding that the “carcass was buried at Devsar, following an autopsy, which showed injuries in head and other vital organs of the animal.”
Another official from the Wildlife Department said they have registered a case of “poaching” against the people involved in the “killing and skinning” of the animal.
However, the official said it doesn’t seem that there was an intention of “poaching”.
“We have seen poachers hardly leave anything of the killed wild animal,” he said.
He said, “It seems the people who skinned the animal did it in blind faith.”
“There is a belief that keeping small portions of leopard hide under the newborn’ s pillow, keeps supernatural powers away from the baby and also helps to have sound sleep in case of sleeplessness. It seems there was this motive,” he said.
A police officer from the district confirmed that FIR has been lodged under Wildlife Protection Act, while the investigation has been taken up.