Shimla, Aug 6 (PTI) A five-year-old girl died in a leopard attack in Shimla city, a senior forest official said on Friday.
The girl identified as Priyanka, daughter of labourer Manoj from Bihar, had been taken away by the leopard from outside her temporary house near a construction site in Kanlog locality to a nearby forest area on Thursday around 8.30 pm, Shimla divisional forest officer (wildlife) Krishan Kumar said.
The DFO told PTI that her skull was found on Friday morning near a nullah around 200-250 metres away from the spot from where she had been taken away.
The locals informed the police soon after the girl had been taken away by the big cat.
Kumar said the forest department was informed about the incident by the police around 10.30 pm on Thursday and the forest team reached the spot within 20-25 minutes.
A joint search operation was carried out by the police and the forest department, he added.
Some blood spots were noticed during the search operation from which it was clear that the animal had killed the girl, he added.
The search operation continued till 2 am on Friday but nothing was found as it was completely dark in the area, he said, adding that the operation had to be suspended.
Subsequently, the search operation to trace the girl was resumed in the early hours on Friday and her skull was found near the nullah, he added.
The girl »s skull was taken by a forensic team to establish whether the skull belonged to her or not by matching her DNA with her family members, the DFO added.
The forensic report may also reveal the animal that killed the girl and whether it was one or more in number, he added.
Compensation of Rs 4 lakh would be provided to the girl »s family by the wildlife department as per its policy, the DFO said.
Meanwhile, panic gripped the residents of Kanlog and nearby localities in the city after the incident.
The DFO said four-five camera traps and two cages would be installed by the evening at suitable places in and around Kanlog to catch the leopard.
The camera traps will take photos of the animal from where it will be clear whether it was a leopard or some other animal and whether it was one or more. The animal »s size will also be captured in the camera traps that will be helpful in catching it, he added.
This is not the first incident of a leopard attack in Shimla city.
In a similar incident on June 21, a youth suffered injuries when he had gone outside his house in Krishna Nagar locality to answer nature »s call in the early hours.
Somehow, he had succeeded in locking the leopard in the bathroom itself. Subsequently, the forest department caught the leopard after tranquilising it.
The leopard had earlier been sighted several times in Kanlog, Sanjauli, Khalini, Dhalli, Vikas Nagar and Five Benches areas of Shimla city during night and it was also captured in CCTV cameras at some occasions that went viral on social media.
The DFO said, « People should contact the wildlife department at its toll-free helpline number 1800-419-4575 as and when they see a leopard or any other dangerous wild animal. »
Alerting the public to protect themselves from any probable leopard attack, the DFO said the big cat usually comes to various localities to prey on dogs during night.
Residents with dogs should keep their pets in enclosures, especially during night, and stray dogs should be removed from the localities with the help of Shimla Municipal Corporation, he added.
Further, some people have built their washrooms outside their houses and when they come outside to attend to nature »s call during night, the leopard attacks them presuming them as its prey due to the darkness, he said.
Kumar advised the public to make proper lighting arrangements around their houses to avoid leopard attacks. PTI DJI HDA
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI