A desperate search has been launched in a bid to find a leopard that’s thought to be responsible for killing two children and leaving behind just their half-eaten bodies.
The massive operation is under way in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, where the authorities have set up cages in the hope of trapping the big cats following the gruesome discoveries.
Locals have been urged to stay in groups and not go out at night while police and forest rangers urgently hunt the animals, reports Sputnik.
The horrific mauling of the two kids is just the latest development in a string of deadly attacks in villages near the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ramtej, nine, who lived in Rikha Pakdia Deewan Village in the Motipur Forest Range, was attacked while playing outside his house on Monday.
A search team combed the forest in a frantic bid to find Ramtej, but their efforts ended in heartbreak when they recovered his half-eaten body in bushes in Ghusri Village the following day, said Divisional Forest Officer Akash Deep Badhawan.
In a separate tragedy, four-year-old Aditya’s trip to his uncle’s house in Maiglapurwa Village, also in Motipur Range, turned into a nightmare when he was dragged away by a leopard – again on Monday.
Forest officers found the youngster’s head on Tuesday, about 2km away from where the attack had happened.
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It remains unclear whether the two attacks were carried out by the same animal, but some experts believe it’s unlikely that a single leopard would carry out both attacks in such a short space of time.
The attacks illustrate just how cunning and strong leopards are. They are the smallest of the big cats but they have immense strength, and a leopard can climb a tree while carrying a large carcass in its mouth.
The boys’ families have been paid compensation following their deaths, worth the equivalent of about £100 each.