A man-eating leopard believed to be responsible for the deaths of 14 or more people has claimed yet another victim in the Baitadi district of Nepal.
For 15 months, the region has been plagued by one or two leopards with a taste for human flesh. The latest victim was a 4-year-old boy who was dragged from his home into the nearby jungle less than a half mile from his house.
More than two thirds of leopard’s victims are under the age of 10. The Baitadi District Police Chief explained the gruesome situation to the press: “In the case of the children it just leaves behind the head, eating everything, but some parts of the adult body are left behind because it cannot finish it.” Kharel fears that the leopard may have killed far more than 15 as human attacks have also been reported in Uttarkhand state in northern India, which borders Baitadi district. “It could be the same leopard,” Kharel said.
Or there could be two man eaters.
Regardless, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation ecologist in Kathmandu Maheshwor Dhakal says once a leopard turns to eating humans it rarely targets other prey. “Since human blood has more salt than animal blood, once wild animals get the taste of salty blood, they do not like other animals like deer,” Dhakal postulated. “There is no alternative but to kill the leopard.”
Baitadi district officials have placed a $300 bounty on the leopard.