The hunt is on in a remote Indian village for a leopard which has mauled two people so far in its quest for food.

 

The lurking leopard entered a Kuruli village in Bolangir District, in Odisha State in Eastern India and hid out in a cowshed.

 

There unsuspecting 16-year-old Milan Rana became victim number one when it lashed out at him.  He managed to escape with lacerations to his hand and back.

 

Forest rangers were summoned to the village in the wake of the mauling - only for one of their number to fall victim to the predator.

 

Forest Ranger Bijay Khuntia sustained serious injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital where his condition is said to be critical.

 

After that attack, reinforcements from another area were summoned and the hunt goes on.

 

Leopards are encountering humans more and more in India as people encroach on their habitat.

 

In Mumbai, they roam the back streets looking for snacks of stray dogs, cats, goats and chickens.

 

In the past 20 years they have attacked hundreds of people, sometimes fatally.

 

Although leopards are protected in India, their shrinking habitats have led to an increasing number of big cats entering cities and villages in search of food - and more run-ins with people.

 

A nocturnal animal, the leopard hunts by night. It is notorious for picking up feral dogs around forest areas. An extremely agile creature, it spends most of its resting time in trees, using land only to move locations, but rarely to rest or nap.

 

It is known to carry its prey up into trees.

 

Last year, India conducted its first ever leopard census, putting the total leopard population of the country at 12,000-14,000 - four for every tiger in the country.

GabrielZamfir's picture

Author: Gabriel Zamfir

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