Leopard strays into Siliguri village, attacks policemen, forest guards

STALKER STALKED: A leopard attacks a forest guard at Prakash Nagar village near Salugara on the outskirts of Siliguri on Tuesday. Photo: AFP   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AFP

A leopard strayed into a village near Siliguri in West Bengal's Darjeeling district on Tuesday and severely injured several policemen and forest guards when they tried to tranquilise it. Five villagers were also injured.

The leopard died in the evening after it was brought to a veterinary centre at Sukna.

Forest Department officials said the leopard must have strayed into Salugara village, either from the Baikunthapur range or the Mahananda reserve forest.

“It was spotted near a house in the morning by villagers who raised an alarm, and this startled the leopard. With the villagers trying to chase it, it tried to flee and injured five villagers in the process. Then, the leopard took shelter in an abandoned house,” Kanchan Banerjee, forest ranger of the Sukna Wildlife Range, told The Hindu on the phone.

Informed by the villagers, the Forest Department officials reached the spot with a large number of police personnel and forest guards.

“The animal pounced upon a forest guard when he tried to tranquilise it at the house, injuring him critically. The leopard fled from the site and took shelter in the bushes at the end of the village. Around 5.30 p.m., the forest guards were able to locate it, and as they were approaching the spot in an open-hood vehicle, the leopard pounced on them. Three policemen were severely injured in the incident that led to a scuffle between the animal and the policemen. The forest guards, meanwhile, succeeded in tranquilising the leopard,” Mr. Banerjee said.

But the leopard also suffered injuries, as the policemen used batons and knives to save their colleagues. “Though two doctors were kept ready throughout the operation, the leopard died while it was being treated at the Sukna veterinary centre. Only a post-mortem can ascertain the reason…, though external injuries are suspected to be the primary cause,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 10:12:35 PM |

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