A wild leopard is suspected of killing 15 people in Nepal in the last 15 months with its latest victim a four-year-old boy who was dragged away into the jungle by the feline to eat.
The young boy’s head was discovered in the forest just one kilometer from his home on Saturday morning, reports CNN. The gruesome discovery came after teams of people searched for the boy, according to Kamal Prasad Kharel, the police chief of the Baitadi district.
The young boy’s death signals a problem between the people in the remote Nepali area and the wildlife. Kharel believes that a single leopard is to blame for the killings, but thinks that it could be two man-eating felines at most.
Maheshwor Dhakal, who is an ecologist at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu, Nepal, acknowledged that it is unusual to find more than one or two animals eating humans in one area, because most leopards live on wild prey.
Dhakal believes that the remote area would have more victims if there were more than one or two of these man-eating leopards in the area. He added:
“Since human blood has more salt than animal blood, once wild animals get the taste of salty blood they do not like other animals like deer.”
The Daily Mail notes that Kharel believes the actual death toll may be higher than 15, because others in the area have been killed by a leopard in northern India, which borders the Baitadi district. It is possible that the attacks are from the same leopard.
Two-thirds of the 15 victims are children younger than 10, while the remainder are older children an a 29-year-old woman who went into the forest to collect fodder for domestic animals. Kharel added, “No adult mail has been killed.”
After the leopard makes its kill, it takes the body into the forest to eat. Kharel explained:
“In the case of the children it just leaves behind the head, eating everything, but some parts of the adult body are left behind because it cannot finish it.”
Local authorities have sought to raise public awareness about the leopard and the dangers of going into nearby forests alone. They have also mobilized police, armed police forces, and locals who have licensed guns to hunt the animal down. There is a $300 (Rs. 25,000) reward for anyone who can capture or kill the leopard who has killed 15 people.
[Image from ShutterStock]