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Foresters save big cat from villagers' rage

Two persons, including a forest staff, were injured in a leopard attack at Kaziranga National Park early on Tuesday. Later, the animal was trapped and taken away to Kaziranga Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

According to locals, the leopard appeared from a nearby forest and entered the village early in the morning. As soon as the villagers saw the animal, panic gripped the area. When the big cat tried to attack humans, the villagers got enraged and came out in large numbers to kill it for protecting their lives. But forest officials arrived on the spot in time and prevented them from doing so.

Divisional forest officer (Kaziranga) Dibyadhar Gogoi said, "We got information that a one-year-old female lepoard has triggered menace in the Difolupathar area of Kaziranga National Park since early this morning. The animal also injured one villager identified as Tarun Bora, prompting the villagers to come out in large numbers to kill it."

He added, ''On getting the report about the sudden appearance of the big cat, forest staff, accompanied by veterinarians and animal-keepers of Kaziranga Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, rushed to the spot to rescue the animal. But the animal attacked Tarun Gogoi, an employee of the centre. Gogoi has been sent to Bokakhat Civil Hospital." He said the leopard was captured by forest staff after the incident.

The DFO added, "We caged the animal and shifted it to the wildlife rehabilitation centre to prevent more such attacks. However, the animal would be set free soon."

Conflicts between forest staff and wild animals are on the rise in Kaziranga for the last few months. On April 7, a forest guard was killed in a rhino attack near the Kartik forest camp in the Kohora forest range of the park when he was on duty. Another guard of the park met with a similar fate on February 6 when he was attacked and killed by a rhinoceros at the Mohkhuti forest camp in the Agoratoli forest range. The deceased was identified as Nitul Dutta, a home guard temporarily engaged in the park.

At Amkathoni forest camp in the Bagori range, another staff fell prey to a charging wild buffalo when he was on duty along with two other forest guards recently.

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