By Tushar A Majukar
A poor farmer’s wife kicked at a leopard and saved her husband from being mauled, deep in the forests of Khanapur taluk on Sunday night.
Showing bravery and presence of mind, Devaki (50), a grandmother of three, rushed out of her house in Chikale village on hearing her husband Vasudev Laxman Pawar’s cries of help. She saw a leopard clinging onto Pawar’s arm.
According to eyewitnesses, Devaki rushed in without a thought and kicked the leopard so hard that it went flying two feet away. Pawar quickly shone the torch he was carrying into the leopard’s eyes. He and his wife then manoeuvred the blinded leopard in through the door of their small tiled house and locked it in.
Pawar told Express from his bed at the district hospital: “At about 12.15 am on Sunday, I heard dogs barking near my house. I suspected that the leopard, which has been attacking dogs in our village, was somewhere around. I came out of my house with my torch to bring my pet dog in to safety when the leopard attacked me. My wife, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren rushed out of the house on hearing the commotion and my wife saved me.’’
The Forest Department personnel, including a trained special team from the Dandeli Tiger Reserve, struggled for 30 hours before succeeding in moving the leopard from the house. They brought with them a special cage to lure the leopard out.
The animal sustained minor injuries on its face while trying to escape from the cage.
The team under the guidance of Deputy Conservator of Forest Mahadev Ambadi, Range Forest Officer Sangolli and Ashok Gonde later released it in to the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary area. Pawar has a small vegetable farm in the forests, on which all the family members work.
His son works in Goa, while the daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live with them. He and Devaki have been married for 36 years.
Chikale villagers said they had never heard of leopard attacks on humans in Khanapur taluk in the last four decades, despite the presence of a considerable number of the cats in the surrounding jungles. “They run away if they spot any human,” a villager said.
The villagers believe that the leopard which attacked Pawar was regularly visiting the village from a couple of months for hunting dogs. They said that it had killed more than 50 dogs to date and the forest officials had been informed about this.
“In just the last seven days, the leopard has hunted 15 dogs,” another villager said.
Meanwhile, six forest personnel were injured after their vehicle overturned near Jamboti village of Khanapur taluk on Monday. The injured have been identified as driver Ganesh Madiwalkar, Deputy RFO Mahesh Tallur and guards — Ramesh Gavade, Kadayya Matpati, Kalmesh Bagi and Shrinivas Nilgar.
According to sources, forest personnel in two vehicles were accompanying the vehicle carrying the trapped leopard. While attempting to avoid a motorcycle, the driver lost control, leading to its toppling. The occupants escaped with minor injuries.
Article Source: EmailDay