Villagers in Myduru have been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act for allegedly beating a leopard to death.
A seven-year-old leopard was on Tuesday beaten to death by villagers in Myduru in Harapanahalli taluk, located near Chigateri forest range.
The Times of India reports that the leopard had been hiding in a haystack belonging to Danal Vrushabhendrappa. The leopard is reported to have attacked him when he approached the haystack to fetch fodder at around 3.30 pm on Tuesday.
The newspaper also reports that the villagers posed for a photograph with the leopardâ€™s carcass.
Villagers who rushed to the scene hearing Vrushabhendrappaâ€™s cries attacked the leopard with wooden logs. Another five people were injured in the process of attacking the animal. Enraged, the villagers killed the leopard after an hour-long chase.
After the villagers staged a demonstration demanding compensation for the injured, Divisional Forest Officer Rajasekharan is reported to have said that the government would sanction Rs.20,000 for the injured.
â€śI have also given Rs 5,000 to each of them and promised them that their medical expenses will be borne by the government,â€ś he added. He also promised to install cattle-proof trenches that would prevent the animals from entering the village.
Sanjeev Padnekar, an animal rescuer told The News Minute that the alarming rate of man-animal conflict can be tackled by appointing a special task force specifically designated to look into such conflict situations.
"As far as the villagers are concerned, their biggest fear is that their livestock would be attacked and so they are least concerned about the safety of the leopard. In most cases what happens is, that one person in the community initiates the attack on the animal, and the others just follow suit," he says.
Providing awareness to the villagers or taking legal action need not necessarily make an impact on the mentality of the villagers, he says. "What needs to be done is that the special task force must train one member of the community, say a village head, who would then pacify the community in conflict situations. That would make more impact than a forest official outside their community instructing the villagers to not attack the animal."
Activists have in the past, raised concern over the rise in number of attacks against leopards, recognizing man-animal conflicts as a dangerous act.
Just a week before, on July 13, two leopards were allegedly poisoned to death by villagers near Bandipur tiger reserve as a â€śpre-emptive measureâ€ť.