Dangs villagers furious after leopards target eight people

Anger seems to be boiling among Dangs villagers as the number of people being killed by leopards is rising by the day. However, senior forest department officials are paying no heed to the issue, although they were camping in the affected villages on Monday. The villagers allegedly torched a portion of forest on Sunday to hackle the man-eater leopard. Forest officials admitted that the fire was not natural and it was put by the villagers. In last two months, leopards have killed at least eight persons, including three children and have injured about three in villages in Dangs (south) range. The last incident had taken place on Saturday when Kakduben Gawit, 56, living in Waghmal village in Waghai, was dragged by the leopard. The lady eventually died due to excessive blood loss. Before that leopards have already targeted Sanjanaben Nimbare, 4, Thaguben Pawar, 60, Ajay Pawar, 5, Sunandaben Gamit, 16 and Bharjuben Pawar, 55. These villagers were from Amsarvalan, Lavaria, Vangan, Borpada and Waghmal which are situated in close vicinity. "The teams from Geer Foundation and Geer forest have already joined hands with us and are working on the issue. We are adopting all possible plans to put an end to the rising number of attacks on humans. We are not sure if it is only one leopard which is responsible for all the deaths because the pug marks are not corroborating with the statements given by the villagers,' Bharatsinh Waghela, deputy conservator of forests, Dangs (south), said. The villagers, on the other hand, alleged that despite incidents have been occurring since the last three months, forest officials have ignored the issue. "They place the cage and leave the place, which is not the solution. With no other option left, we have now formed teams comprising of men from villages. We patrol the village during nights. Forest officials have failed to help us, forcing us to adopt our own methods to get a solution,' Prakash Birari, deputy sarpanch of Waghmal village, said. hitarth.pandya@timesgroup.com Villagers torched jungle: Officials Forest officials admitted that villagers on Sunday had torched a small part of the forest to tackle the leopard. "Villagers apparently saw a leopard sneaking into the village boundary and put a small part of the forest on fire. When the animal went towards the jungle, the villagers gathered some dry leaves and burnt them. no damage was caused in the jungle or to the wildlife due to the fire,' DCF Bharatsinh Waghela said.