At around six pm last evening villagers of Resa, Saling gewog, put to deathwhat they believe to be the predator that in the past few weeks killed numerous poultry birds, a calf and attacked a man inside the house.
It could not be confirmed whether the animal was a leopard but farmers said that under torchlight it looked black in colour and was the size of a big stray dog.
Farmer Sherub Gyaltshen had set two traps around his coop around 5 pm yesterday after he lost eight hens on the night of October 1.
“Around 6 pm I saw the leopard caught in the trap. The noose had gone around the neck and a forelimb,” Sherub who lost more than half of his 80 hens in the past few weeks said.
“It was growling like anything and trying to escape so I quickly informed the neighbours and with the help of a sharp iron rod pierced its stomach,” another farmer said. “It died after 15 minutes.”
Farmers said that they had been living in fear especially after the September 21 incident. At around 7 pm that evening a 45-year old man was mauled by what villagers believe to be the same animal. Three days later it killed a calf.
The incident occurred in the kitchen outside the main house where Sangay was sleeping. “The animal suddenly jumped on my chest. The nearest thing to me was an axe and I hit out,” Sangay recalled. “It knocked the animal down but it tried to pounce on me again and I hit it again. I managed to injure it on the head.”
There were four people in the house including two children who shouted for help. The neighbours came by and helped chase the animal away.
Sangay went to Gyalpoizhing basic health unit in Mongar and did not have to take any stitches. The incident is the first for Resa village.
One of the farmers said that the dead animal had a deep cut on the head, which had become infested with worms confirming that it was the same animal that had attacked Sangay on September 21.
Forest officials will be visiting Resa village today to investigate.
“I’m sorry to hear these people have lost livestock & a person was mauled…but I think it’s terrible that they killed the cat they way they did, it took 15 minutes to die, suffocating on it’s own blood, surely they could have made a quick clean kill as it was already trapped by it’s neck & forelimb & already in serious pain from the head wound, it was hardly going anywhere! Anyhow, snooping around on other pages…I found this interesting….”
The general advice given to farmers is to stop grazing their cattle in areas, where the predator has made a kill. If it is a kill by a tiger, then some sort of compensation is given, because the tiger needs to be saved, given its importance in the food chain.
But it needs to be known why livestock is being attacked. Maybe there is not much natural prey out in the jungle, which might have been poached for all kinds of things. The predator could be old or injured, though the one in Punakha, wildlife conservation division officials believe, is a young fellow, at least going by the method of attack.
But what of damage by the leopard, the wild dog and the elephant? Farmers are not compensated for damage and loss by these animals, nor are they allowed to hunt them down. In some places, even monkeys and the porcupine do a lot of damage.
As an expert recently pointed out, lending an ear to what farmers and villagers might have to say on dealing with the problem could lead to long term sustainable solutions, rather than cash handouts, which take a long time coming and barely cover the loss
“Well if it was a leopard, were the farmers right to kill it the way they did? I will try to keep updated on this story & post any further news!”