A 24-year-old temple cook was attacked and dismembered by a leopard in Karnatakaâ€™s Koppal district on Wednesday night. The Forest Department officials told TNM that it was not the same leopard, which had previously attacked and injured two people in Koppal. Huligesh Doddeerappa, a 23-year-old cook and resident of Anegundi, also worked at a cow shed in the village. Huligesh had worked as the cook at the Adishakti Temple in the village for several years and had recently taken up the job at the cow shed, tending to the cows.
On Wednesday night, Huligesh was to return home after locking up the cow shed but did not make it back home. His family members, who were worried for his safety, approached the Koppal Rural Police. This is the second attack by a leopard in the last one month in Anegundi. Since the residents of Anegundi had reported leopard sightings in agricultural fields, the police suspected such an attack could have occurred on Huligesh.
A search party was organised including police officers, forest department officials and locals. In the early hours of Thursday, Huligeshâ€™s dismembered body was found outside a cave located in the Anegundi Hill.
Koppal Rural Police Stationâ€™s sub-inspector Doddappa told TNM that the leopard could have attacked him when he went to answer natureâ€™s call. â€śWe havenâ€™t found any evidence to indicate that the leopard attacked him in the cow shed. Huligesh and many people in the village attend nature's call near the foot of the hill. The leopard could have attacked him there,â€ť SI Doddappa said.
Huligeshâ€™s left limb is missing. The leopard has eaten parts of his torso, face and arms. His dismembered body was found lying near the cave, while his head was found near a pile of stones nearby.
On October 16, a group of tourists from Hyderabad were attacked by a leopard in Anegundi. The leopard had attacked a 65-year-old woman and a teenage boy from Hyderabad. Both were severely injured and have recovered since the attack. The leopard responsible for the attack was captured and culled, Forest Department officials said. On October 28, residents of Anegundi reported to the Forest Department that a leopard had walked into agricultural fields.
â€śIt must be the same leopard that had walked into the farmersâ€™ land. We are searching for the leopard and expect to capture it soon,â€ť the forest department official said.