A leopard that mauled 11 people in a fierce fight Tuesday with Indian villagers has died of knife wounds after being captured.
The snarling adult male leopard leapt at locals and forest officials as they tried to drive it into a wildlife sanctuary in a village near Siliguri in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.
Forest official Dharma Dev Rai says villagers used knives, stones and batons to beat back the cat. It injured six villagers, a policeman and four forest guards before being hit with a tranquilizer gun.
The people are recovering from their injuries, mostly swipes from the cat’s claws. Leopards are protected in India, though more are straying into villages for food.
Police were called to the village on the edge of a forest reserve after residents chased the animal into an abandoned house, where it pounced on the back of one officer as he tried to tranquillize it. The animal fled, but was found a few hours later in bushes at the edge of the village.
“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,” said local forest ranger Kanchan Banerjee. “Three policemen were severely injured in the incident that led to a scuffle between the animal and the policemen.”
Mr. Banerjee said police had attacked the animal with knives and batons to free their colleague.
The leopard was eventually tranquillized, but it died later that day. Leopard attacks are increasingly frequent across India as human populations rise and the animal’s traditional wildlife habitat deteriorates.