Siliguri, Feb. 10: Four persons were injured when a female leopard raided a Jalpaiguri village today. The animal roamed the area for nearly six hours till foresters tranquillised it.
Budhni Oraon, a 60-year-old resident of Purba Duramari village in Dhupguri block, went out of her home to graze a cow around 6.30am when she was attacked.
“The adult leopard came out from the Khuttimari forest, about a kilometre away, and struck the woman. It then took refuge in a bamboo grove,” said Kalyan Das, the divisional forest officer of Jalpaiguri.
With Budhni crying for help, villagers ran to her rescue and soon a crowd encircled the grove.
By then, foresters from the Moraghat range also reached the spot. The leopard, irritated and frightened by the crowd, jumped on the villagers and injured 24-year-old Ajoy Roy.
“Our employees were forced to open fire to deter the animal from attacking further. As several people were running around, the pellets fired at the leopard hit two of them,” the DFO said.
The injuries of Pabitra Roy and Ranjan Adhikari who suffered pellet injuries were “not serious”, Das said.
Around 12 noon, the Binnaguri wildlife squad reached the spot. A section of villagers had turned impatient by then and started throwing stones at the leopard, which took refuge in the bamboo grove again.
The foresters immediately cordoned the area and shot a dart at the leopard. About 15-20 minutes later, the animal became unconscious. It was then carried away to Moraghat. “The animal was later released at the Khuttimari forest,” Das said.
Budhni, who was mauled on the neck, hands and back and whose condition was said to be serious, and Ajoy have been under treatment at Birpara General Hospital. Pabitra and Ranjan were taken to Dhupguri Block Hospital and released after first aid.