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

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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:00 pm

Google view of the village where leopard was operating and made kill. Odal village on north west of lansdowne and jaletha village on the eastern side.

Added in 2 hours 44 minutes 3 seconds:
zaheer.bakshi wrote:Google view of the village where maneater leopard was operating and made kill. Odal village on north west of lansdowne and jaletha village on the eastern side.
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ngrewal
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby ngrewal » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:42 am

Corbett99 Parshant and Zaheer
Amazing public service endeavor be safe and sad to see Leopards have to turn on to human settlements to sustain themselves.. recipe for mishaps

Best



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

Postby prashantsingh » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:08 pm

Sorry for the delayed reply. Just finished an article for a wildlife journal on how and why young and healthy big cats are turning man eaters in India. Day before a 7 years old tiger was shot by a special task force for killing a man



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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:25 pm

Tiger of Devarshola, a male shot dead by special task force.
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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:01 pm

Corbett had said that 9 tigers out of 10 turn maneater due to injury and the tenth due to old age.
That was a 100 yrs ago when our jungles were teaming with wildlife.
Today they are turning man eater simply because they have nothing else left in the jungles.
In this particular hunt we saw only two ghoral (mountain goat) while there were a number of leopards in the area. Three that we saw and two we heard of from locals (in the army area). I consider it an achievement to have shot the right animal in an area where at least 5 .......if not more leopards .......were operating.


As you can see in the map Zaheer has posted . This leopard traversed an amazing distance within a week. During this week long journey it spread fear and sorrow all along killing two and injuring three.
The reasons why this leopard was moving so much were 1. no food 2. competition from other leopards and 3. severe hunger.
The maneater must be starving . Which explains why its attacks were in broad day light.



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essdee1972
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby essdee1972 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:12 pm

Prashantji, I am now feeling sorry for the maneater! In a similar situation, I'd have probably eaten a few humans. Or been eaten.


Cheers!

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

Postby GNV » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:32 pm

Mr.Prashant Singh,
Congratulations.
But is it wise to drink alcohol while on a man eater hunt ?



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

Postby prashantsingh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:34 am

Not at all.
When the first leopard was captured we thought it was over. That's when Sudhir Pallav and I had our drinks. The moment the next attack took place. We were back on the hunt. No alcohol thereafter.
Zaheer and Mansoor don't drink at all. Mansoor takes to the wheel then.
So, the final day . We put our stuff in a forest chowkee which was a one room set at a distance of about 6 km from Jaletha. Joy and another shikari had already made their machans. We had decided to search by road. We were short of two people so we took the deputy ranger along with the chowkidar son . Our search started half an hour before dusk.
Somehow there was confidence amongst everyone . There was a strong possibility of getting the man eater today. The animal had made the last kill less than 24 hrs ago and had to be close by. Dusk turned to darkness. There was a bridge which demarcated the Lansdowne division. We decided to go a short distance ahead. These were man made boundaries which obviously the animal did not know. It could have crossed over to the other side.
Same story. The forest was dense. But devoid of wildlife. In the distance We could see the forest fires. Quite spectacular they looked in the cold dark night. Almost like molten lava flowing down the hillside. The fire was devastating and it also made us feel sorry for whatever few animals that were and would be sooner or later engulfed in it. Unfortunately, Zaheer who has been our main photographer in all the shoots was holding on to his 375 mag and could not take photos of the forest fires.
The blazing forest fires made me wonder. If the sudden increase in numbers of leopards in Landowners was due to migration of leopards from the adjacent division .....to escape the fire

Looking for a man eater in the hills is like looking for a needle in a haystack .
Jaletha would be the centre point of our search . We would search all around the village and cover the maximum roads our jeep would negotiate.
We first crossed the bridge and went to the other side. Covered a short distance but realised no animal would stay in that area. The forest fires were uncontrollable and going in that direction would invite death.
We were now localised to one side ..
We took a right turn about half a kilometer down the road and went on a kutcha road. There was dense lantana growth all around and visibility was minimal. Perfect leopard habitat. I thought. But impossible to search with a spot light.
The road ended after about a kilometer and turning the jeep from there was one tough task.
Came back to the main road and started uphill slowly....scanning each rock , each tree , each empty piece of land that the flash light could penetrate.
Nothing.
Then as luck would have it. We got the first information. A taxi driver coming uphill stopped us and asked what we were looking for. When he heard we were searching for a leopard. He told us . He had seen one sitting by the roadside a kilometer short of Jaletha

We were thrilled and took a U turn. I could visualise the leopard sitting next to the road and taking a shot at it. Not realising that the animal had been spotted about 15 min ago. We rushed down hill as fast as we could but still took about 12 min to get to the point. There was nothing.
27 min is a lot of time . A hungry man eater would not sit at one place and wait for it to get killed. It had been spooked by the taxi and had quietly slipped away.
We went up and down the hill. But with no results. We took turns at showing the light. But we saw no eyes shining. The over confidence and excitement was slowly being replaced by helplessness and frustration.
We knew we had come close.....very close to the killer......
..yet were so far away



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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:24 am

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

Postby prashantsingh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:49 pm

Moving up and down a single patch of about 5 kms from the village . We came upon across a white maruti 800 car on the main road. There were four young men....In their early 20s... sitting inside. They honked desperately and stopped us.It was around 9 15 pm. They were coming back from a wedding when one of them had got down to piddle . In the light of the car they had seen a leopard about 50 yards away. The leopard was crawling towards the car. On seeing the beast the boy had jumped into the car. The driver had taken a u turn and was rushing back. It had all happened 5 minutes back.
The fear in their eyes told us everything.
We were really close now. I pulled up the shotgun. Zaheer pulled up his 375 mag. Sudhir took my 3006.
I had a bad fall from a horse on 16 Jan and had almost broken my left hand. My wrist was giving me trouble so I preferred to take the shotgun rather than my rifle.
We handed the search light to Mahaveer. ...The chowkidars 22 yr old son.
The moment we saw the leopard I would squeeze his arm. He would throw the light on the bonnet of the jeep which would be an indication to the driver to stop .
Jaletha is just off the main road. A thin mule tract leads to the village where the road takes an acute bend . The house where the girl was killed is hardly 70 meters from the main road.
We were moving uphill . The moment we took this acute bend.
There we saw.
Straight ahead. On the rock face of the mountain. A beautiful full side leopard. standing broadside moving slowly towards the village.
Mahaveer in all excitement dropped the flashlight
The deputy ranger who was driving the jeep fortunately saw the leopard as well.
There was no doubt in my mind. This was the man eater.
It had tried to stalk the boy in the car.
After that failed attempt it was now moving back to the village looking for the girl it had killed a day earlier.
The leopards had no chance.
25 yards away. With the backdrop of the hill. It was almost like target practice.
In the light of the jeep . The first two shots were fired.
One from the shotgun and one from Zaheers rifle.
I aimed for the chest and hit hard.
But the shot which brought instant death was Zaheers 270grain soft nose head shot through the brain.
The animal would not have known what hit him.
Dropped down like a pigeon.
It was all over.
Sudhir and Zaheer took an extra shot each just to make sure the man eater was dead.
The 4 shots echoed in the valley and the young men in the white maruti came within minutes to find out.
"This was the same leopard that was crawling towards me ".....said the boy who was still trembling with fear.
I put my hand on his shoulder and told him to relax.
The maneater of Lansdowne was now dead.



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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:10 pm

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

Postby prashantsingh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:30 pm

That's Zaheer's head shot.
Check out the perfect healthy dentition.
Repeated licking with the rough tongue and saliva , helps the big cat to soften the toughest hide and tear it so that the tender protein rich meat inside can be eaten first.
Mahaveer holding the tail .....extreme right....and posing for the local newspapers. The deputy ranger....wearing cap .....standing behind me.
Hunting a man eater is always a team effort and everyone in the snap had an important part to play,
After a gap of 2 months I am finally back in the saddle.



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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:45 pm

Dr Prashant , you have only talked about two leopards , what about the other two ?
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prashantsingh
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Re: 4 leopards in 4 days......The Lansdowne Maneater

Postby prashantsingh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:10 pm

Ah. I forgot.
We quickly picked up the dead leopard and took it straight to our forest chowki.
I called up the SDO who said he will come immediately.
With experience I have learnt it's best to take the carcass away ASAP.
The moment villagers start to gather . It becomes difficult to protect the body. As a registered shooter we have to hand over the animal to the forest dept. as it is.
Not a claw missing . Not a whisker out of place.
We had just reached the chowkee when I got a call from the SDO.
A leopard had been trapped in Pokhal. .....The village where the girl and the lady had been injured.
The SDO was getting the captured leopard to our chowki and then we would all sit together and decide the future course of action.
It gives me great pride that we relocates and released two innocent leopards .
I gave the example of FRI where we had shot the man eater and relocated the huge male.
That I feel is the success of our hunt.
Only one animal was shot. The animal killed was the man eater.
The innocent leopards did not spend their remaining lives in a zoo. But are today enriching the gene pool of our National Parks where they have a better life. Where they are protected. Where they can feed on deer and not dogs.

Added in 5 minutes 19 seconds:
A month ago.....In Almora . Two "maneaters" were shot.
I complement my team for never having to shoot a second animal in any of our hunts till day.
By God's grace. Where ever we have shot a maneaters. All attacks on humans have stopped .
Where ever we have relocated and released the innocent leopards. There has never been loss to human life till date.
God be with us in all our future hunts.
Zaheer please post snaps of the captured leopard. Again a beautiful full grown female in prime health.



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

Postby zaheer.bakshi » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:03 pm

The first leopard was trapped on 3rd March in odal village. Photos of this leopard below.
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