JORHAT, March 31 - A male adult leopard which strayed into a village on the north-western outskirts of the city here early on Monday, attacked a villager, thereby leading to a day-long chase by Forest Department staff to tranquilise the animal, was subsequently shot dead by a security man present at the spot in self defence following unsuccessful attempts to tranquilise the big cat.
According to a senior Forest Department official, the wild animal, identified as a male adult leopard about eight years of age, had earlier in the day attacked a forest guard and a BSF jawan, who were part of the security personnel deployed along with Forest Department staff to control the large crowd at Da-Gayangaon during efforts to tranquilise the leopard.
The senior official said that the Forest Department staff had tried to tranquilise the big cat by bringing in a team having veterinary doctors from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Borjuri near Kaziranga National Park to the village. However, the attempt was unsuccessful.
He said that the dart shot at the leopard got dislodged from it�s body as the animal atop the roof of a house in the village jumped down to the ground.
The official further said that subsequently the leopard moved inside a storehouse and broke open the door while coming out and injured a forest guard and BSF jawan.
At dusk, the leopard climbed a tree at a distance but was surrounded by a large number of villagers who came out with spears and other sharp weapons to kill the feline, the official said.
Thereafter, while the big cat came down from the tree and tried to move away from the area, it reportedly came face-to-face with a team of policemen and forest personnel and attacked them, following which one among the security personnel present shot the animal dead in self defence, the official stated.
Jorhat DFO Bidyut Barthakur told this newspaper today that he has directed the Assistant Conservator of Forest (Jorhat) Ashwin Kumar to conduct an inquiry into the incident.
Barthakur said that after completion of the inquiry, it will be known exactly who had fired at the leopard and under what circumstances.
In the meantime, the carcass of the leopard was sent to the district veterinary hospital for post mortem. The DFO said the carcass after post mortem will be burnt as per Government rules in the presence of NGO members, National Tiger Conservation Authority members and officials of the Forest Department.