2 Indian leopard stories highlighting human-leopard conflict

Here are two common leopard stories from India which highlight the catastrophic human-leopard conflict in that vast country. They also remind us of the constant pressure on the leopard for habitat as it is being eroded year-on-year through human population growth and commercial activity. The leopard is being pushed off India. 

Leopard enters classroom in India
Leopard enters classroom in India. Screenshot.

There are countless conflicts between people and the leopard in India every year. The leopard invariably loses although, rarely a person is killed. The leopard becomes habituated to human settlements which endangers them and of course the people who lived in those settlements. Or, more likely, the people feel endangered. My interpretation of the news stories is that the leopard is almost invariably killed or if lucky tranquillised and removed. But the leopard often resorts to night-time activities to avoid humans.

Note: Below are an embedded video and tweet. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Classroom

The first story concerns a leopard who wandered into a school and attacked a student. It seems that the student was the right size as a prey animal for a leopard. They do tend to attack kids (see the second story below). The student suffered minor injuries. He ran out of the classroom when he saw the leopard hiding there. The leopard was judged to be five years old. It was tranquilized and captured after an 11-hour effort. The officials say that the leopard strayed from a patch of forest nearby. This highlights the proximity of the leopard habitat to the human habitat. The video above shows the leopard wandering around the classroom.

Woman grabs her son from a leopard

A woman living in Madhya Pradesh tracked a leopard which had grabbed her eight year old son in its jaws and carried him off. She first put her other children in a safe place and then rushed into the forest to chase the leopard. The reports are rather vague but she tracked down the leopard after about 1 km and managed to grab her son from the leopard and bring him home. Villagers by that time had also intervened and chased away the leopard with sticks. The incident took place last Sunday in Badi Jharia village, in the buffer zone of the Sanjay Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district, located over 500 from the state capital Bhopal.

Kiran the mother who fought a leopard
Kiran the mother who fought a leopard. Screenshot.

Here is the tweet:

काल के हाथों से बच्चे को निकाल कर नया जीवन देने वाली मां को प्रणाम। प्रदेश के सीधी जिले में तेंदुए का एक किमी दूर पीछा कर मां अपने कलेजे के टुकड़े के लिए उससे भिड़ गईं। मौत से टकराने का ये साहस ममता का ही अद्भुत स्वरूप है। मां श्रीमती किरण बैगा का प्रदेशवासियों की तरफ से अभिनंदन।

Translation per Google (not great :-? )

Salutations to the mother who took out the child from the hands of time and gave her a new lease of life. The mother chased the leopard a km away in Sidhi district of the state and confronted her for a piece of her liver. This courage to hit death is a wonderful form of Mamta. Greetings to Mother Smt.

The brave woman's name is Kiran. An Indian new website, NDTV, reports that she was sitting beside a fire with her three children to keep them warm inside her hut. The leopard appeared and instantly caught hold of her son Rahul in its jaws and dragged him away. The mother kept her cool. She tried to scare the leopard away with a stick and also raised the alarm. It seems that the leopard became scared and left the child. When she took her child into her arms the cat attacked her. She overpowered the cat. Luckily the boy received relatively minor injuries. They were taken to a primary healthcare unit for treatment. The forestry department agreed to bear the expenses of their treatment.

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