Leopard on rampage in Vidarbha, eight humans killed

Chandrapur (Maharashtra), April 18 (IANS) A 50-year-old woman was mauled to death by a leopard in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra Thursday, a forest department official said.

The woman, identified as Gopika Kalsarpe, became the eighth victim of leopard attack in the Chandrapur district of the state’s eastern Vidarbha region in the past two weeks. A girl was killed only a day earlier.

Gopika Kalsarpe was attacked by the big cat Thursday morning while she was on her way to her field outside Kitadi village in Chandrapur district, around 15 km from here.

“Forest guards, wildlife activists and volunteers have been patrolling the area for the past few days to alert the residents. They asked Gopika to be alert while treading ahead. However, she was attacked by the leopard only a few paces away,” Bandu Dhotre, honorary wildlife warden of Chandrapur, told IANS.

Dhotre said the wildlife volunteers rescued the woman and rushed her to hospital where she died of injuries.

This is the second such incident reported from the area in the past two days.

On Wednesday, a 13-year-old girl was killed by a leopard at Payali village, which is just a kilometre away from where the woman was mauled to death by the big cat.

The same leopard could be behind both the attacks, according to Dhotre.

Last week, two people were killed in animal attacks near Adegaon in Moharli range of Chandrapur’s Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) buffer zone while they were collecting mahua flowers along the road. Four more people were killed a week before that while they were within the TATR buffer zone.

Of these six attacks last week, five are believed to be from leopards.

A forest official said they were taking measures to curb such attacks.

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