A four-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu was killed in a leopard attack on Wednesday, August 10. The child has been identified as Saridha, a resident of Mainalai in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. Saridha was found unconscious near a tea estate located in Arakkadu, which falls under the Ooty North forest range. Though she was rushed to Ooty government hospital, she succumbed to her injuries.
Officials believe she was attacked by the leopard near the estate and the animal dragged her for some distance. Saridha sustained injuries on her right cheek and neck. Forest Department officials realised that she had been attacked by a leopard as they found the pug marks next to her, and based on the bites on the child’s body, confirmed that a leopard had attacked her.
Four-year-old Saridha’s parents are migrant workers from north India, who are employed on the tea estate. According to local reports, the child was playing outside her house while her parents went to work on the tea estate. She was attacked and dragged by the leopard to a neighbouring tea estate, located in the Thenadukambai forest range in Ooty north forest division.
Forest Department officials have launched an inquiry into the incident, as leopards usually do not attack humans. However, according to reports, forest officials believe that Saridha may have accidentally gotten too close to the animal while she had gone to relieve herself. The animal could also have mistaken Saridha, based on her size, to be easy prey.
Earlier this month, a male leopard that was involved in killing cattle in Tamil Nadu's Bhavanisagar area was trapped by officials. The animal had been killing cattle and dogs after venturing out of the Bhavanisagar Forest Range in the Sathyamangalam. The leopard had killed several cattle in the past six months and local people had demanded its entrapping by placing a cage. The forest department had placed CCTV cameras on human inhabitants adjacent to the Bhavanisagar forest range and on close monitoring found that the leopard was drinking water from a tank in the village.