A leopard killed a 7 years old tribal boy while he was carrying lunch for his tea-worker father at Rajabhatkhawa tea estate in Buxa Tiger Reserve, Alipurduar on Saturday. The leopard ate away most of the body portion.
The incident took place at division 8 of the garden. The victim, Umesh Munda, was carrying lunch for his father when the leopard jumped on him. Two friends, who were accompanying him from his hut at Barakuthi Lane in Section 12, escaped the spot but the seven-year-old could hardly put any resistance.
This incident sparked outrage among the tea-workers. Kalchini police, Buxa Tiger Project Officer and officials of the tea garden rushed to the spot. A search operation was started soon. Police recovered the body and sent it to the Alipurduar district hospital for post-mortem.
Leopards are found in large quantity in the tea gardens as the bushes here give natural cover for these animals. The big cats often treat the drains of the gardens as their hiding place mainly when the females are about to give birth.
In many cases the attendance of leopards in tea gardens result in man-animal clash following which leopards often get killed. Leopards often lift goats, pigs and other small animals that the garden laborers and villagers keep as their livestock and it is essential for those people to drive away or kill the leopards to save their animals.
Every year this conflict results in the death of five-six leopards and one-two human beings, children to be precise.