11-Year-Old Boy Killed By Leopard Near Dudhwa Reserve

Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh) :  An 11-year-old boy was mauled to death by a leopard near the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) in Lakhimpur Kheri district.

The boy had gone to collect fodder in the Banshibeli village when he was dragged away by the leopard on Tuesday.

Sanjay Pathak, field director, DTR, along with range officer Anil Shah rushed to the spot and confirmed after seeing the marks that it was an adult leopard.

According to reports, the boy, Ankit Kumar Gautam, was collecting fodder near a cane field when a leopard lurking in the field pounced on him. It dragged him inside the cane field.

The boy’s partially eaten body was found later by the villagers.

This is the third such killing of a child in the village since September 13. Another child was injured but rescued.

After a series of attacks, the forest department had placed two cages in the area to trap the animal. However, on October 29, a minor leopard was trapped instead of the one that killed the children.

Experts from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the forest department have installed 15 camera traps in the area to monitor the adult leopard.

Anil Patel, divisional forest officer, said, “All the three children, aged between 11 and 13 years, were possibly killed by the same leopard. This animal has been spotted on numerous occasions near the cage but it never enters inside it to kill the bait.

“This suggests that the big cat was caged before. Now, tranquilizing it seems to be the only way out to stop the killings. We are planning to prepare a temporary ‘machaan’ for further operations. We will seek permission of the principal chief conservator of forest for tranquilizing this leopard.”

Earlier, on October 10, a 13-year-old boy, Sikandar Lal, was injured by a leopard in the Pathakpurva village, near Bahraich range.

A 12-year-old boy was mauled to death by a leopard in the Banshibeli village near the Dudhwa forest range in Dhaurahra area of the district in September. Then, an 11-year-old boy of the Chamaranpurva village was also killed on September 13.