Man-eater leopard mauls minor girl to death in Uri

3rd death in less than a week, Wildlife Dept issues shoot at sight orders

Baramulla: In the third such incident within days, a 12-year-old girl was mauled to death by a man-eater leopard in Boniyar area of Uri in Baramulla district, officials said on Tuesday.

The officials told KNO that the victim identified as Rutba Manzoor daughter of Manzoor Ahmad Bhat was playing outside her home when a man-eater wild animal attacked her and dragged her for about half-a-kilometre towards the forest.

They said that on receiving information, police, wildlife teams and locals swung into action and launched a massive search operation to trace the girl and her body was found in a nearby forest area.

There has been a widespread outrage in Baramulla over these incidents in which lives of three young children were lost in the last few days. On Monday 12-year-old Shahid Ahmad son of Abdul Jabbar Ganai of Boniyar was mauled to death by a wild animal when he had taken his cattle for grazing to a nearby forest area. Earlier, a 12-year-old boy was killed after being attacked by a wild animal in the same area on Saturday.

Soon after today’s fresh incident, locals and families of trio victims staged a protest demonstration and blocked Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway at Uri town.

The protesters alleged that the administration is silent and no concrete steps have been taken so far to tackle the threat of wild animals. Shouting slogans against the Wildlife Department, leopards have been seen roaming in the residential area for quite some time but no steps were taken by wildlife officials to ensure safety of the locals.

The J&K Chief Wildlife Warden while terming the animal as man-eater issued a shoot at sight order for the said animal.

Giving instructions, the Wildlife Warden said that proper identification of the leopard be ensured before it is hunted, ensuring that no animal is hunted on account of mistaken identity.

Further, there should be ensured that this permission is not misused by an organization or individual to avail the opportunity for hunting any other leopard in the area under the garb of this permission. Also the body of the animal shall be disposed of by burning it to ashes in presence of wildlife warden north division Kashmir as per the protocol.

Meanwhile, another official said that extensive search operations are underway in the area to kill the animal. “We have deployed multiple teams for patrolling and awareness among the general public,” he said, appealing to people to take maximum care of their children until this animal is killed.

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