Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wild Leopard Ate 15 Women, Children: Officials

A horrific story from western Nepal: Authorities are hunting for a man-eating leopard that may have killed 15 people, including a 4-year-old boy whose head was found in a forest, CNN reports. At most two leopards are behind the attacks, officials say, because man-eating leopards are so rare—and this one is unlikely to stop. "Since human blood has more salt than animal blood, once wild animals get the taste of salty blood they do not like other animals like deer," says Maheshwor Dhakal, a government ecologist.

So far the victims are all women and children in villages bordering dense forests, but officials suspect the leopard of killing people in India too. The creature's strategy is simple: drag each victim into a forest and eat everything it can. Only the heads of children, and parts of adult bodies, remain because they are too much to eat. Now officials are skirting the law against killing wild animals and offering about $300 to anyone who hunts down the animal. "There is no alternative but to kill the leopard," says Dhakal.

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