A woman rescued her 5-year-old daughter from the jaws of a leopard after the animal attacked the child in a forest in India.

The incident took place in the western state of Maharashtra, the police said Sunday. The mother, identified as Archana Meshram, was walking to her village with her daughter when the leopard suddenly pounced on the girl, media outlet NDTV reported.

Forest Development Corporation Limited's divisional manager V.M. Morey said the woman initially stepped back when she saw the leopard, but later gathered all her strength to save the child.

Meshram began hitting the leopard with a bamboo stick in order to make the animal leave her daughter. The leopard then dropped the girl and tried to attack the woman, but she kept on hitting it with the stick, Morey told NDTV. The animal later escaped into the forest.

The girl sustained serious injuries, and was rushed to the Chandrapur Civil Hospital. She was later shifted to a government dental hospital due to injuries to her jaw. Local media reports said the incident took place June 30, but the police revealed the details only on Sunday. The victim, who has been receiving treatment for days, is scheduled to undergo surgery to fix the multiple fractures in her facial bones, The Hitavada reported.

The forest department had given some amount as initial compensation for the victim's medical treatment, an official said.

There are 1,690 leopards in Maharashtra, the third-largest population of the big cat in the country, according to the "Status of leopards in India, 2018" report, which was released last year.

Earlier this month in the neighboring state of Gujarat, a 2-year-old was mauled to death by a leopard. The child's partially-eaten body was later found. “It ate around 70-80% of the body. The victim could be identified only by her clothes. Four cages have been set up in the area to capture the wild cat," forest range officer Arpit Bhariya told The Times of India at the time.

In May, a leopard had attacked and killed an 8-year-old girl while she was sleeping next to her parents on the terrace of their home on a farm in the state.

Leopard | Representational Image pixabay