The remains of a 4-year-old girl in India were found in a forest nursery, hours after she was reported missing. Authorities said the child was mauled to death by a leopard.

The girl was reportedly dragged away by the animal while she was playing in the lawn of her home in central Kashmir's Budgam district Thursday evening. The girl was identified as Adha Shakil, Greater Kashmir reported.

The police and locals began searching for the girl after a missing case was filed. Wildlife teams and the army also assisted the police in the search.

People living nearby said there were blood stains all around the place from where the girl went missing. The child's body parts were later found in the forest, India Today reported. Residents of the village told local media leopards had been roaming in the area for many weeks. Some of the animals had also been captured by wildlife teams. However, the leopard involved in the latest attack was not spotted.

Leopard attacks were on the rise in Kashmir due to deforestation and disruption of wildlife habitats, TRTWorld reported in March. The report added from the year 2014 to 2018, 49 people were killed and 828 injured in the region due to human and wildlife conflicts.

“People gather around these animals which frighten them and their natural reflex of self defense, which is to attack, is activated. If left on their own they won’t hurt anyone unnecessarily,” Aakib Hussain, a wildlife researcher, said at the time. “We have encroached on their habitat and now it’s time to pay back for our wrongdoings."

In March, the family of a boy launched a search after the child went missing. The remains of the child were recovered from the bushes of a forest area of Qazigund, a town in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. People who lived nearby suspected the child was mauled to death by a leopard. Later, a leopard was captured alive by the officials of the wildlife department in Budgam, nearly 50 miles from Qazigund. The animal was caught after it was seen in a residential area.

leopard cub Pixabay