ABBOTABAD: In spite of the wildlife department placing a trap to catch the leopard which killed an eight-year-old boy last week, the big cat managed to evade capture and killed another girl on Friday.
The wild animal attacked and killed an eight-year-old boy, Sohail, on November 12 in Baren Gali village, spreading fear and panic among residents.
Following the incident, the wildlife department placed a trap to catch the leopard, but all their efforts turned futile when the leopard attacked a 12-year-old girl Tahira Bibi on Friday in Kalas village.
According to villagers, the animal has also killed several cattle in the past. The villagers also staged a protest against the wildlife department, demanding that the cat be captured or killed.
Villagers explained that the department set up another trap on Saturday, following Bibi’s death, and left a goat in the trap to bait the leopard. However, according to the villagers, the leopard entered the trap on Saturday night, killed the goat and made off unscathed.
Meanwhile, villagers accused the department’s staff members of being untrained for dealing with wild animals, leaving villagers in constant terror.
“We cannot go to the jungle to collect wood or graze our cattle as we are afraid of being attacked,” said Sardar Sabir, a resident of Baren Gali village.
Meanwhile, the department has announced a reward of Rs10,000 for anyone who catches the leopard. According to Sub Divisional Officer Salahuddin, the department has set up traps at different points. He assured that the leopard would be caught “soon”.
He explained that there are around 80 leopards in Ayubia National Park, who often prey on cattle. However, local villagers claim that there are over 200 leopards in the area.
He was of the view that the leopard which attacked the children was an older cat which was unable to attack large prey. He also conceded that the big cat could kill more people if left unattended.
He also revealed that the department did not have the authority to kill the animal under the Wildlife Act of 1975 and could only catch the animal under the law.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2011.