Man-Eating Leopard Shot Dead in Nepal
Nepalese hunters have shot dead a leopard suspected of killing more than a dozen people in the past year in the country's remote western region, a police officer said on Friday.
A local police officer said a villager had locked the animal in his cowshed in the middle of the night and informed local hunters, who made a hole in the wall of the shed and shot the animal.
"Villagers had told us that the leopard (blamed for the killings) had a white spot on its chest," Lal Bahadur Saud, a police inspector in Baitadi district, told Agence France Presse.
"We found that the dead animal had such a mark. We are sure we got it," he said.
In November, local authorities launched a hunt for the animal, which had terrified villagers living on the banks of the Mahakali river.
Police announced a bounty of 25,000 rupees ($300) to anyone who could bring in the animal dead or alive after more than 100 police and soldiers failed to capture it.
"Even on Wednesday, we had deployed 20 policemen near where it was found. Local people were scared to go out of their houses in night. But now they can heave a sigh of relief," Saud added.
The sparsely-populated mountainous area where the attacks took place is covered with thick forest separating around a dozen villages.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the leopard as a "near threatened" species. Experts say its global population has declined due to poaching.
Among Nepal's three types of leopards, the snow leopards are found in the mountains while the common leopard and clouded leopard on the sub-equatorial plains and in forested hill regions.
According to Mangal Man Shakya, chairman of Wildlife Watch Group, a Kathmandu-based conservation organisation, Nepal has not yet conducted a nationwide survey of the animal.
"But some pocket surveys have indicated that the population has grown in the past two decades, thanks to conservation efforts and the regeneration of forests," he said.