From: Reuters
Published January 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Villagers Chase, Kill Two Rare Leopards in India

SRINAGAR, India -- Panic-stricken people chased and battered to death two rare leopards in different parts of India, highlighting increasing numbers of endangered wildlife that are killed as rapid economic development destroys habitats.

In Kashmir, villagers attacked a leopard late on Wednesday after it injured two boys in Pulwama district, 70 km (45 miles) south of Srinagar, the state's summer capital, police said.

"Panicky villagers ruthlessly killed the leopard with stones and sticks," police officer Farooq Ahmad said.

In India's western city of Nasik, local television footage showed a leopard darting across a residential park, scaling a boundary wall and running through houses.

A group of people were shown beating the leopard with logs as it lay on the ground, apparently after being cornered. It later died of its injuries.

Cases of leopards and foxes being spotted in residential areas have been increasingly reported in India. Wildlife experts say this is a result of unplanned development that erodes the natural habitats of animals.

"This is all a result of rapid urbanisation that is happening," said Anuradha Sawhney, who heads the India office of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). "I am sure there will be many more incidents like this in future."

Officials in Kashmir say more than a dozen people, many of them children, have been killed in the past year by leopards and black bears, while half-a-dozen animals have been killed during the same period.

Source: Reuters

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