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4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:48 pm

I read about the attack in the local hindi news paper. But do not give it a second thought. The place is 180 kms and already two teams of hunters have been invited. Then later in the evening I get a call from my teammate Corbett 99 (Sudhir Raghav). The man who introduced me to hunting maneaters. The man with whom I shot my first maneater. His son studies in a boarding school in Lansdowne. The maneater is operating in the same area. "I have been shooting maneaters since 1998 for others. This hunt is closer to the heart ".Sudhir tells me

Half an hour later Zaheer calls up. His first cousins family lives in Lansdowne. He is worried.

There is no looking back. I call up a Forest Officer in charge and the next morning (day 3) we are on our way to Lansdowne. My 3006 , Zaheers 375 mag and two shot guns in the boot.
Sudhir, who now works in Delhi will be joining us the next day along with Pallav from Dehradun and Mansoor Mazhar from Moradabad.
Pallav is a fantastic driver and takes to the hill roads with ease. Mansoor will help in spotting with the flashlight. Will Sudhir Zaheer a I will be ready to take the shot.

This hunt is different from all previous hunts. The attacks have taken placein broad day light. Very unlike a typical leopard which strikes between dusk to dawn.

The animal is moving a lot. The distance between the two attacks is about 5 kms by road.....Probably 2 kms as the crow flies. In one day the animal has moved quite a distance.
Last edited by prashantsingh on Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.



zaheer.bakshi
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:41 pm

Few clicks
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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:03 pm

"It's not the trophy but the race
It's not the quarry but the chase".
For me . A maneater hunt is not just the service to mankind or the passion which goes with it.
It's the beauty of the mighty Himalaya which is the driving force.
The peace the tranquility, the closeness to mother nature which acts as a magnet.
The kill is only a small part of an overall learning experience.
The high and mighty mountains show us how small we humans (with all our inflated egos) really are. We realise the beauty in God's creation. No wonder they call it Devbhoomi......the abode of Gods. Where sages and rishi have come over thousands of years. (Garhwal has a recorded history dating back to the Stone age. 8000 BC)
A poet has rightly said."kabhi kabhi.... zameen pe bhi latena chahiye....apni aukaat yaad aa jati hai."



zaheer.bakshi
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:55 pm

Getting familiar with the landscape and enjoying the sceneric view of pine forest.
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Harish Asnani
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby Harish Asnani » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:37 am

Well done Prashantji and the team, I read about the Leopard attacks online and your previous hunt instantly came to my mind not knowing that you will once again embark upon the journey....anxiously waiting to read your account



SMJ
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby SMJ » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:55 am

The landscape is just beautiful. Waiting to be enthralled with Dr Prashant's fantastic narration of this man eater hunt...



prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Zaheer and I were the first to reach.
4 kms shot of Pokhal we met Joy on the road. I had met him in Pithoragarh and immediately recognised him. He is a soft spoken gent with more than 16 maneaters to his credit.
We stopped and had a brief chat before starting again. The SDO and Range Officer were waiting for us in the village.
Had a quick dinner and decided to do a short search of the area.
Since there were only the two of us. We requested the Deputy Range Officer to drive our jeep and a gusrd to throw the flash light.
We searched till past mid night and saw 1Ghoral.
One thing universal in all maneater hunts is severe prey base depletion. It is evident that we are forcing these animals to turn to maneating due to starvation.
This was my 5th maneater.
Out of 5 only one had a fractured canine and one was pregnant. Three were absolutely healthy.
Actually 4 out of 5.....since pregnancy can not be considered a pathology.
Corbett has written that old age, injury and disease may force the big cat to turn to maneating.
It is time to rewrite the books.
More healthy animals are turning to maneating......simply because they just dont have enough to eat.
Unless drastic steps are taken to prevent humans from entering the forest areas, I see little hope.
It's a sad state of affairs.

Added in 5 minutes 49 seconds:
We were tired and wrapped up by 1 am.
Early morning we were welcomed by the news that the maneater had been trapped .
We rushed to the village and saw a large crowd gather.
The leopard had been trapped on Day 3 from the same spot where the girl had been killed.
I will request Zaheer to put up the video of the captured leopard.
Sudhir Mansoor and Pallav were on the way and would arrive by evening.




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xl_target
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby xl_target » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:36 am

Congratulations, Prashant and crew.
A great job as usual.
Looking forward to the rest of the story.


“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:39 pm

Thanks xl
I was debating whether I should wait for for a month but decided to write now.
The Lansdowne man eater stuck fast . From 28th Feb till 5th March. It killed two children and injured three. It's been 10 days now and no attacks. .....confirming we shot the right animal.
Zaheer and I reached on day three. Slept at 1 am and we're woken up early. A leopard had been trapped on exactly the same spot where the first victim had been killed. Everyone thought that the man eater had been captured.
The you tube video will show you how people gathered from far and wide to get a glimpse of the leopard. Mob mentality is such that they could have done harm to the animal. It was swift action from the SDO and Deputy Range Officer that the animal was taken away before it could be stoned to death or burn alive.



zaheer.bakshi
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:46 pm

Few more
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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:44 pm

Day 4 early morning ....The leopard is trapped.
Pallav , Sudhir Raghav and Mansoor join the hunt......A hunt which we feel is almost over.
But Sudhir feels otherwise. He has been hunting man eaters since 1998 with Kr Sanjay Singh. A man eating leopard can not be so stupid to get trapped . He feels it's not over.
I feel he is saying it because he is worried about his son. A fathers love towards his child.
But realise.....there is no alternarive to experience.

Added in 7 minutes 3 seconds:
In the afternoon . While we are waiting for our team mates to come. The SDO comes with a wildcat. The cat has stuck her head in a pot.
Reminds me of a leopard in Rajasthan some months ago . which had put his head inside a ghara to drink water and had got stuck.
Exactly the same situation . But this is a much smaller cat.
In fact I am pleasantly surprised to see its a Caracal. A schedule 1 animal in the Wildlife Protection Act.
Zaheer and I help the SDO release the animal . It's a lovely feeling to see it run away into the wild. Unfortunately none of us can take a video as we already have our hands full. Zaheer probably managed to take one snap of the potted Caracal. May I request him to kindly put it here

Added in 9 minutes 22 seconds:
With the team now complete we decide to go around sight seeing. We search the jungles for animal life and come across two Ghoral. As always .....The jungles are empty.
The bulk of the leopard's diet is domesticated animals. Be it dogs , goats or cattle. The big cat has to come close to villages in search of food.
Hence starts the man animal conflict.
We came back by mid night and decided to sit down for a drink.
Sudhir , Pallav and I polished off a bottle of whiskey laughing and chatting till dawn ....While Zaheer and Mansoor tried their best to sleep in the one room 5 of us were sharing.

Added in 17 minutes 56 seconds:
There was an unconfirmed attack on a women in a nearby village and Joy decided to investigate. The village was about 3 kms from Pokhal.
He left in the morning , spent the night in the village and came back the following day.
A lady claimed to have been mauled by a leopard but there was not much evidence for the same.
Her story was not really convincing and it was only after the man eater struck again that we realised she had said the truth.
Anyways . The DFO asked us to stay back for a couple of days and we spent our time drinking sightseeing visiting some picturesque picnic spots in and around Lansdowne. It was all fun and no work. Basically chilling out in the lovely hillstation.
One afternoon was spent visiting Sudhir Raghavs son's school and meeting the boys.
Then on 4th the Forest Officer told us we could leave . They would retain Joy for another day.
We packed up and left left a 4 pm
At 7 pm. When we were 10 kms from home the call came.
Another child had been attacked and killed . On the other side of Lansdowne. The animal hawd moved a distance of more than 15 kms by road from where it had made the first kill.
Perhaps a distance of 5 kms as the crow flies.
The hunt was on.
We reached home . Had a hot water bath....After 3 days......Took fresh clothes and we're ready to leave again in the morning.
Pallav was down with a Viral ...and Mansoor was back in Moradabad. So now three of us would be going back......Zaheer Sudhir and I

Added in 10 minutes 51 seconds:
The only lady to send her husband away happily was Sudhirs wife.
The rest of us .....Zaheer and I had to face the brunt of our better half's fury.
I now realise how James Edward Corbett managed to shoot so many man eaters. ......He did not have a nagging wife waiting at home.
Jokes apart.
My wife has really supported me in all the hunts. She comes from a family of old time Shikaris and realises the passionate commitment which goes with a man eater hunt.

Added in 12 minutes 5 seconds:
5th March.
We reached Jaletha village by 1 pm.
The other Shikaris were already in the village. In fact they had reached the village the previous night. They had done everything right. Tied a bait. Waited in a machaan on the spot the girl had been attacked and killed. Yet the man eater did not return.
Joy told us that it was a windy night and he felt that the man eater had probably spotted him and did not come to the kill.
Today they had built two machaans at different locations in the village to get a better chance . The two Shikaris teams would man those machaans.
We had two options.
One to build another machaan.
Two to search on the road.
Zaheer Sudhir and I sat down for a discussion.
We came to the conclusion that this man eater was moving a lot.Unlike the other leopards we had shot. It was not returning to the kill......and even if it was ....It was very cautious in doing so.
There was more probability of getting the animal on the road.
This decision as we later realised ....made all the difference between success and failure.
Last edited by prashantsingh on Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.



TariqPathan
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby TariqPathan » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:09 pm

Excited so far !!!!!


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zaheer.bakshi
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:04 am

This is the village where last kill took place ,4.5 year old girl was killed by the maneater. The house shown & beside is the field where leopard was hiding before the attack.
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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:03 am

Jaletha Is a village on the other side of Lansdowne. A distance of about 10 km from the last attack by road. But probably a distance of 4 km as the crow flies. There had been no attacks for almost 48 hrs but the similarity between this attack and the previous one confirmed it was the same animal. There was a wedding in the village and everyone had been busy there. The vidai had taken place just after lunch . A young four and a half year girl was playing outside unaware of death lurking close by. The maneater was hiding in the field right next to the house waiting.. So beautifully camouflaged that no one could see it. The moment the girl stepped on to the stairs. The leopard jumped out of hiding and pulled her down. It was just past 5pm. In full view of the family




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