Man-eating leopard blamed for 15 deaths

Nov. 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM
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KATHMANDU, Nepal, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A leopard suspected of killing and eating 15 people in Nepal may have killed others across the border in India, a police official says.

The remains of the most recent victim, a 4-year-old boy, was found Saturday in a forest just over half a mile from his home, CNN reported. Police say the leopard probably seized the boy and dragged him away to eat.

Kamal Prasad Kharel, chief of police in the Baitadi district, said searchers had been combing the area, looking for the missing child. All that was found was the head.

Two-thirds of the victims have been young children, Kharel said, and the others older children and one 29-year-old woman. Most were killed while looking for animal fodder in the forest.

At least 15 deaths in the district have been blamed on the animal in the past 15 months.

Baitadi, almost 400 miles west of Kathmandu, is a remote area that borders the Indian state of Uttarkhand. Kharel said similar deaths have been reported in Uttarkhand.

Maheshwor Dhakal, an ecologist at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said carnivores that kill humans do get a taste for that particular prey.

"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," Dhakal said.

A reward of about $300 has been offered for the death or capture of the leopard.

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