Srinagar: A month after it devoured three kids, the man-eating leopard was finally killed on Wednesday evening.
Last month, the leopard unleashed a reign of terror in Uri after killing three minors. Later, the government invoked Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and ordered the killing of the animal.
Wild Life Warden Rashid Naqash told The Kashmir Monitor that the leopard has been finally killed in the Bernate area of Uri.
“Finally, yesterday we had a successful operation and the leopard was killed,” he said.
The operation, as per the officials, was conducted by three different departments including army police, and wildlife.
Dense forest and frequent movement by the animal were hampering the operation.
“In this case, we face the biggest hurdle, which was the change of tracks by the leopard. The animal changed its location frequently and would rarely repeat the track. The second hurdle was the dense forest in Uri which provided apt cover for the leopard to hide,” said Mohammad Maqbool Baba, Wild Life Warden North.
He said the powerful sense of smell and sharp eyesight of the animals equally made the job for the wildlife department difficult. “The animals escaped our ambush many times and shots were missed,” Baba said.
From hiring hunters to seeking assistance from the police and the army, the operation was conducted in different stages for 25 days.
“At least 10 parties were deployed to trace the animal. The leopard was almost 10 years old. When we finally got the traces of the animal, we restricted the parties to three and finally got it eliminated,” Baba said.
“Trained officials were called from Handwara and Kupwara also to accompany the teams to eliminate the animal. It was the toughest job and it took a lot of effort from us to eliminate the leopard,” he said.
When the leopard was ambushed, it tried to attack the team. “We made several attempts to capture the leopard alive. But it attacked the team, prompting us to open fire and kill the leopard on the spot,” another official said.
People of the area heaved a sigh of relief after the killing of the animal.
“People had restricted their movement. Students couldn’t go to the schools due to fear,” said Suhail Raja, In-charge Wildlife department Uri.