Alipurduar: A three-year-old child became the latest victim of man-animal conflict in the Dooars of West Bengal when a leopard snatched her away from the lap of her mother before killing her at the Madarihat area of Alipurduar district on Tuesday evening. This is the third such attack by a leopard in the region in the past one month.
As per local residents, Pooja Oraon was cooking outside when the leopard jumped over the fence and snatched her child, Pranita Oraon, and ran away in the dark of the night. She screamed and ran after the leopard, but couldn’t trace the animal.
The child’s mutilated body was found some 3 km from her house on Wednesday.
Hundreds of local residents protested against the apathetic approach of the forest department towards resolving the increasing man-animal conflicts in the area.
In the month of December alone, two boys aged six and 12 years were killed in a similar incident at the Ramjhora and Dhumchipara tea gardens of Alipurduar district.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 leopards inhabit the districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar that are dotted with 283 tea gardens and large swathes of forest, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves.
There has been a sharp increase in man-animal conflicts in the past few years. Urbanisation and rapidly increasing human settlements and the lack of proper wildlife management plans on the part of the forest department are said to be some of the main factors behind such conflicts.