KEY POINTS

  • A 10-year-old boy in India was dragged into a forest by a leopard and killed
  • His partially eaten body was recovered and sent for autopsy
  • Officials said shooters have been deployed to track down the animal

A 10-year-old boy in the Indian state of Uttarakhand was killed by a wild leopard a few days ago — the third attack recorded in the state this week.

The unnamed victim had been walking with his 13-year-old sister in the town of Pithoragarh when the animal dragged him toward the forest, The Times of India reported.

His sister was able to flee and alert village residents, who found that the animal had left the site of the attack.

The boy's partially eaten body was recovered from the forest in Pali village in Gangolihaat Tuesday, the report said.

Two women had been killed within days of each other in similar attacks in the district of Tehri, according to the outlet. Three shooters who had put down the animal responsible for the attacks in Tehri Tuesday were now being deployed to Pithoragarh to search for the boy's killer.

"We'll try to trap the animal, if we are unable to do so, it will be shot dead," chief wildlife warden JS Suhag of Uttarakhand's forest department was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Camera traps have also been installed in the area to monitor the movement of the animal, the report said.

The boy's attacker will be the third maneater to be put down in Pithoragarh's forest division this year should it be killed, divisional forest officer Vinay Bhargav noted.

An initial undisclosed ex-gratia payment was given to the victim's family, and the remaining amount will be released after the autopsy on the boy's body, Bhargav said.

The forest division has a high rate of man-leopard conflicts as a majority of its 1,342 villages are within the vicinity of dense forests, as per The Times of India.

"Last year, we lost 10 lives to leopard attacks. There is a need to survey abandoned villages in the region which have become [a] safe haven for leopards," Bhargav was quoted as saying by the outlet.

He added that an estimate of the leopard population across each forest division was also required to better tackle the man-leopard conflicts.

Big cat attacks account for more than half of deaths in man-wildlife conflict incidents in Uttarakhand despite measures to tackle the conflicts, such as increased patrolling and the use of radio collars to track the animals, according to the report.

A total of 30 deaths from man-wildlife conflict incidents had already been recorded for the first half of the year as of Wednesday, as per The Times of India.

nature-3616194_1920 Representation. The boy's partially eaten body was found in a forest after he was attacked. Photo: Pixabay