BARPETA ROAD, Sept 22 - In a shocking incident, two leopards were found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Manas National Party on Friday near the Nanke Khagrabari Beat office. According to forest official sources, initial tests point towards poisoning of the leopards.
On Thursday evening, a Manas Tiger Project patrolling party found the carcass of a leopard located 600 metres away form the Nanke Khagrabari Beat office and owing to darkness, the search operation was suspended. On Friday morning, the patrolling party resumed their search and found another carcass of a leopard, 50 metres away from the previously found carcass. Both the leopards were between 3-7 years old.
The residents of Nanke Khagrabari and Narayanguri, which is adjacent to Manas National Park, often release their cattle in the park area to feed on their own. Recently, a cow was killed by the wild animals and the owner of that particular cow poisoned the cow carcass, as leopards mostly return to their kill to feed again.
In this connection, forest officials arrested a person named Hanif Ali of Narayanguri, suspecting him to be involved in this inhuman task. While carrying out the investigation, small quantities of poison was also found at his residence. Moreover, a forest guard Altab Ali was suspended today by the park authority due to negligence of duty. The local and wildlife loving people have condemned the incident and blamed the forest officials, as patrolling was not carried out regularly and no measure had been taken to stop the entry of cattle in the park.