Leopard was shot at in self-defense only after it attacked four people, says official

Leopard was shot at in self-defense only after it attacked four people, says official

A video grab of the leopard, which was on the prowl for past five days, shot dead during capture, at Kudlu Gate in the Singasandra area, by Karnataka Forest Department, in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

A video grab of the leopard, which was on the prowl for past five days, shot dead during capture, at Kudlu Gate in the Singasandra area, by Karnataka Forest Department, in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Forest Department officials and police personnel move a cage after capturing a leopard who was roaming in a residential area, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.

Forest Department officials and police personnel move a cage after capturing a leopard who was roaming in a residential area, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
PTI

A video grab of the leopard, which was on the prowl for past five days, shot dead during capture, at Kudlu Gate in the Singasandra area, by Karnataka Forest Department, in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

A video grab of the leopard, which was on the prowl for past five days, shot dead during capture, at Kudlu Gate in the Singasandra area, by Karnataka Forest Department, in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The death of the leopard on the prowl to a gunshot by the Forest Department personnel, while they were trying to capture it on Wednesday on the outskirts of Bengaluru, has evoked an emotional response among Bengalureans, especially on social media, with many questioning if there was a need to shoot the big cat.

However, experts said that forest personnel can open fire in self-defense if the animal turns aggressive and poses a threat to the personnel or to the public.

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) S.S. Lingaraja told The Hindu that that the big cat was shot at only after it attacked four people on Wednesday. “It attacked one of our veterinarians, one of our leopard task force personnel and later two more personnel. Only when it attacked the fourth person did we open fire even though we had permission to shoot if the animal turned aggressive or attacked our personnel grievously,” Mr. Lingaraja said.

He also added that the tranquilizer was not very effective in this operation.

What the law says

A wildlife expert who did not wish to be named said that under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, personnel involved in an operation to capture the animal can open fire in self defence. “The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, allows it,” said the expert.

Sanjay Mohan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF-Wildlife), Karnataka, said that incidents such as this normally do not happen. “Normally we are very successful in capturing the wild animals. We have got a lot of experience in safely capturing whether it is elephants or leopards,” Mr. Mohan said.

“With animals some accidents may happen and in this case an unfortunate thing has happened. However, I am not fully aware of what the situation was and how this incident happened,” Mr. Mohan said.

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