The body of an 11-year-old boy was found after he was attacked and killed by a leopard in a village in northern India on Tuesday.

The big cat pounced on the victim, identified as Ankit Kumar Gautam, when the boy was collecting fodder near a cane field in Banshibeli village, situated close to the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The animal then dragged the victim inside the field and killed him.

When the boy did not return home, his family members and residents in the area started searching for him. A few hours later, Gautam's partially eaten body was found.

The family members informed forest officials, who confirmed that the boy was attacked by an adult leopard after noticing pugmarks near the victim's body.

In the last two months, three children were killed in leopard attacks in the village.

Last month, cages were placed in the village by forest officials to trap the leopard. Over 15 cameras were also installed in the area in order to monitor the animal.

"All the three children, aged between 11 and 13 years, were possibly killed by the same leopard. This animal has been spotted on numerous occasions near the cage but it never enters inside it to kill the bait," Anil Patel, divisional forest officer, told local daily the Times of India.

"This suggests that the big cat was caged before. Now, tranquilizing it seems to be the only way out to stop the killings. We will seek permission of the principal chief conservator of forest for tranquilizing this leopard," he added.

The incident comes a month after a 10-year-old girl was killed by a leopard in a village in the same state. Fiza was walking with her friends near their makeshifts huts when the big cat attacked her after appearing from the bushes and dragged her away. Her friends informed the villagers who alerted the forest officials. Following a search, the partially eaten body of the girl was found a short distance away from where she was attacked.

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