SRINAGAR (BT): Kamla, a 57-year-old widow, who lives in the upper reaches of Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, was attacked by a leopard on Sunday when she was working in her fields.
The leopard raked her with its claws and teeth. Kamla gave it back with sickle and spade, till the animal fled the spot. Villagers later found its carcass a short distance from Kamla’s fields. Kamla walked a kilometre-and-a-half, bleeding from her many wounds, the bone of an arm fractured. “Some villagers found her and took her to Srinagar where she was bandaged and treated for wounds and fractures,” AG Ansari of Human-Tiger Conflict Medication Centre of Corbett Park said.
“It’s a miracle that she survived the attack and managed to kill the leopard,” Ansari told dna over the telephone. “Leopards are formidable killers, and vicious predators.
Entire villages lie deserted in the higher reaches of Rudraprayag because of leopard attacks.” He said this leopard was probably desperate and hungry. “With small game disappearing, leopards have been feeding on dogs and human children. There is a village I know from where every family has lost a member or two to the leopard,” he said. With tiger population going up in the past couple of years, it’s a battle between the two big cats, with the tigers coming up trumps.
“A leopard may become a man-eater after a single human kill. Some may continue to kill humans till they get to become full-blown man-eaters. Two man-eating leopards were killed in Corbett Park in 2013; one of them was shot dead when it was feeding on a 12-year-old girl it had killed,” Ansari said. In a way, Kamla is an exception to the rule. In such attacks the winner by default is always the leopard, said Ajay Suri, wildlife filmmaker. He is giving the finishing touches to a wildlife series he’s making with Tom Alter.