A man-eating leopard from the Himalayan ranges has acquired a particular taste for staggering drunk men returning home. It is believed that the 10-12 year-old jungle cat has spread its reign throughout the Didihar region of the Kumaon hills in the Himalayas during the last two-and-a-half years.
According to The Telegraph, the man-eating leopard began its killing spree in January 2012 by attacking a 46-year-old man from the Simar Village, before claiming five more victims the same year. With another five victims in 2013 and the latest, a 44-year-old man from the Badeth village (killed on 1 August), the tally of the jungle cat's preys have risen to a dozen.
It is understood that the leopard, who generally sticks to a diet of dogs has acquired this peculiar taste for inebriated men, owing to the lack of dogs in the Himalayas. Madan Paneru of Kotali village revealed that most of the victims were drunk when the leopard savaged them, because they are easier to hunt.
Belinda Wright, the leading conservationist and head of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, also reiterated that it was not the taste of the drunk men that attracts the leopard to them, but men stumbling home after long drinking sessions make for vulnerable preys to the leopard.
"Quite frankly when people are drunk and weave their way back home to the village they are easy prey. I don't think the leopard is targeting drunk people, just people stumbling along the path at night.I'm sure you won't taste any better because you've consumed liquor," she said.
Because of the man-eating leopard's peculiar tastes, villagers now walk home before sunset and carry sticks. "Villagers are terrorized by the wild animal and it's almost impossible to venture out after dark.. Moving from one village to another or to markets through forested areas becomes difficult," narrated Paneru.
Although multiple attempts have been made to shoot and kill the man-eating leopard, the jungle cat is yet to be captured or defeated. It is in fact not even known if the jungle cat is male or female.