Chandrapur: A female leopard that killed three people including a meditating Buddist monk over the last few days near the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve has been captured this morning, forest department officials said here on Saturday.
The big cat had mauled a woman to death on Friday a day after she killed 32-year old Rahul Walke, a monk attached to a Buddhist shrine near the tiger reserve. The killings resulted in tension in the area and villagers were holding protests for the last few days, officials said.
According to the forest department officials, the monks were warned against venturing deep into the forest areas. But Walke and some other monks stayed put at a spot where they have been meditating for the past several weeks.
On the fateful day, the leopard pounced on Walke and dragged him away even as his fellow monks watched in horror. The feline abandoned the monk’s body a short distance away when chased by local people.
Forest rangers had installed cages in six spots around an 8 km radius with baits to lure the leopard. Since all of the leopard’s victims were around the Arjuni and Ramdeghi villages, the forest officials concentrated on this spot, according to officials.
The wait was rewarded—the big cat walked into one of the cages installed in the farm of her latest victim this morning.
The cage with the leopard inside was discovered this morning and the animal was moved to the Transit Treatment Centre at Chandrapur.
Forest officer Gajendra Narwane told reporters in Chandrapur that the big cat was a two-and-a-half year old female leopard. He added that officials were still in the process of confirming whether this was the same animal that was responsible for the killings of five people in the past few weeks.