India

Three leopards captured in K’taka after infant, old woman killed

Bengaluru, May 18 (IANS) The Karnataka forest department has captured three leopards, suspected to have carried away and devoured a sleeping boy and an old woman in the state's Ramanagara district in the last week, an official said on Monday.

“We have captured three leopards, two male and one female. Male leopards aged about two years each and the female, four and half years respectively,” Deputy Conservator of Forests, Ramanagara, Sadashiv N. Hegade told IANS.

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On May 9, a leopard took advantage of a door left ajar in a house in Kadiraiyanapalya village of Magadi taluk, to enter and carry away three-and-a-half-year-old Hemanth Kumar, sleeping with his parents and grandparents.

In the similar fashion, on Saturday morning, 67-year-old Gangamma, sleeping outside her home, was also carried away by a leopard, killed and eaten.

“The leopard took away the woman around 4 a.m.,” he said.

Forest officials are awaiting the postmortem report of the leopard victims, and have decided to give a compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh each.

Following the double deaths, the department has set up a camp to undertake round the clock vigil in the terrorised villages to capture the killer cats.

“We have arranged 13 cages with baits such as a goats and dogs to capture the big cats,” said Hegade.

On Sunday, a drone was also flown over the forest and villages to know the whereabouts of the cats but could not find any trace of the leopards.

“Maybe because of the bushes and rocky places, we could not get any sign of the leopard,” he said.

The Forest Department camp is also making announcements telling people not to venture out of home and has also distributed some pamphlets with the same message.

More than 20 forest officials are maintaining the vigil.

“We are also fixing some camera traps to catch a glimpse of the cats in our efforts to capture them.”

Hegade said the villages are located on the fringes of the Bantarakuppe forest.

Meanwhile, the department also found a pair of very young leopard cubs, probably a week old which will be left at the place where they were found.

The department has examined the canines of the three captured leopards, along with other tests, before releasing them deep inside a different forest, Male Mahadeshwara Betta.

–IANS

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