A leopard pounced on a worker and mauled him while he was weeding a tea garden in Jalpaiguri district on Wednesday.
Gopal Das, 42, suffered injuries on an ear and the shoulder. He has been admitted to Jalpaiguri Medical College and Hospital.
Sources said Das and other workers were removing weeds and undergrowth from the plantation at Padri Kutir in the Sadar block when the animal had attacked him.
“A leopard that was hiding in the bushes pounced on me. It mauled my ear and shoulder. I screamed and tried to push the animal away with all my strength. As my co-workers shouted, the animal ran away,” Das said from the hospital bed.
Some other workers who witnessed the attack said they had no inkling that a leopard had sneaked into the garden.
Das, who was carryinga long knife in his hand,didn’t use it to resist the leopard.
“What he did was appreciating. Even though the animal attacked him, he didn’t use the knife to defend himself. If he had done it, the leopard would have suffered serious injuries,” said a worker.
Gopal Chakraborty, the manager of the tea plantation, along with other workers, reached the spot.
“We immediately informed the foresters and want them to cage the animal. The incident has left the workers panicked,” Chakraborty said.
The staff of the Belakoba range of the Baikunthapur forest division arrived and launched a search for the leopard. But they couldn’t trace the animal.
“We have placed a cage to trap the leopard. The workers were told not to move alone in the plantation,” said Sanjoy Dutta, the range officer.