A man-eating leopard which has killed 12 people during a two-year bloody reign of terror in the Himalayas is thought to be targeting drunk men returning home after a hard night out on the town.
The merciless jungle cat whose happy hunting ground lies within the Didihat region of the Kumoan hills in Himalayan India, started its killing spree in January 2012 with an attack on a 46-year-old man from the Simar village.
The killer cat went on to claim five more victims before the year’s end and a further five in 2013. To date, the ferocious feline has claimed a further two victims this year. The latest unfortunate victim to fall foul of the spotted predator was a 44-year-old who was savaged on August 1.
Villagers believe that the crazed cat is preying on intoxicated men, stumbling home drunk after dark following a night on the bottle.
Now, while walking home drunk is not without considerable risks, being attacked by a man-eating leopard when you’re a little worse for wear is not something any fun-loving man or woman should have to worry about, no matter on what corner of the globe they reside.
Yet, for villagers in the Himalayas, the threat of being butchered by a big cat whilst under the influence is fast becoming an occupational hazard when it comes to visiting the nearest bar for a tipple.
Villagers in the region now return home before nightfall, and if they’re travelling through heavily forested areas, they make sure they’re carrying a big stick.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Madan Paneru from Kotali village explained how most of the victims were drunk when they were slaughtered by the man-eating leopard, and as a result, many local people are living in a state of fear and afraid to venture outside after dark.
“People carry sticks with them and remain alert all the time. Many in the village believe that drunk people are easy prey for the wild.”
Repeated attempts have been made to shoot the killer cat after the Uttarakhand Forest Department declared it as a man-eater. Yet, to date, they have had no joy as Pithoragarh’s forest officer YK Singh confirmed.
“This month we had sent a team of shooters in the affected village, but they were unsuccessful in their mission. This is the third attempt made so far.”
It is thought the man-eating leopard is between 10 and 12-years-old and may have acquired a taste for human flesh when it was unable to catch its favored food, dogs.
Leading conservationist and head of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, Belinda Wright, does not believe the killer car is specifically targeting drunks, but their behavior is making them easy prey for the man-eating leopard.
“Quite frankly when people are drunk and weave their way home to the village they are easy prey. I don’t think the leopard is targeting drunk people, just people stumbling along the path at night. I’m sure you won’t taste any better because you’ve consumed liquor.”